There are dozens of ways that any computer's data can be taken without modifying a single forensic's bit on the original hard drive.News sources today are announcing that the VA's stolen laptop (with millions of identity records) has been recovered. Most sources are claiming that the VA and its forensic experts are claiming the data was not touched or extracted. I hope this is an oversimplification, because there are dozens of ways the data could have been read\/copied and the data left untouched. How?Here's two easy ways:1. Boot on any device except the hard drive (e.g. floppy disk, CD-ROM, DVD, USB device, etc.). Use an NTFS-compatible version of Linux (e.g. Knoppix, Backtrack, Nubuntu, etc.) and steal away.2. Ghost the hard drive and manipulate the copyI can come up with a dozen ways in a few minutes.Every computer security forensic person is required by their job to be able to access other people's hard drives and data without modifying a single original bit. So, while common thieves wouldn't know how, there's probably tens of thousands of computer professionals that do.So, I'm hoping the VA and the news sources are oversimplifying the case. A better opinion would have been, "We have found no evidence to indicate the data was not read or copied." not "After examining the evidence we are SURE the data was not copied or read."These are two big different statements.