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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

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AlertBoot offers a cloud-based full disk encryption and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Sometimes Data Security Requires More Than Laptop Encryption

There is a short article at the AP that makes one wonder what exactly they do at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  I’ve read enough technology‑centric books to know that Los Alamos was where the first nuclear bomb was developed under Manhattan Project.  It is currently home to many math, physics, and other science and engineering researchers working on some of the most cutting‑edge technologies and basic and/or applied sciences.  You bomb this place and the average IQ in the USA falls by, like, 125 points.

 

So, the image I get of the place is that of a desert location dealing with extremely hush‑hush, top‑secret projects.  At the same time, it’s described as one of those places where scientifically‑minded people get together to comingle and share information, sparking all sorts of revolutionary ideas.  Due to this dichotomy of being top‑secret (= extreme security a là Mission: Impossible) and free‑exchange of ideas (= hippie commune), you wonder how they deal with data security—again, assuming it’s top secret stuff you’re working with.

 

Well, based on the AP article, it seems that they don’t really do much about security, which makes me wonder if they actually have top-secret stuff going on over there.  A former lab contractor who was converting lab documents into electronic format took home classified documents and computer files.  Just like that.  She didn’t do it out of malice, it sounds like—she was just overwhelmed with work, and decided to do some of it from the comfort of her home.  It wouldn’t be the first time that somebody decided to take sensitive files home for work‑related purposes.

 

It’s also not the first time that Los Alamos has had data breaches: In 1999, a scientist was charged with nuclear espionage, which was later dropped.  He had supposedly (and quite easily) taken data out of the lab.  Then, in 2000, computer hard drives with classified data (is there any other kind at this place?) went missing for a brief while.  They were found behind a photocopier.  There’s always been talk about the lax in security at this place.  As I recall, some argued that they couldn’t be too harsh with security, since it would prevent the flow and exchange of information—the reason Los Alamos is so successful in being what it is in the first place: a cauldron of new theories and ideas.

 

It seems to me that data security could easily be implemented at Los Alamos with AlertBoot.  Encrypting hard drives is one of the key features of AlerBoot, as well as controlling device ports such as USB or COM ports.  And, this control can be based on the user, so it is not necessary to configure each machine—whatever rights extended to the user will follow them around.  This way, scientists can access computers and databases to their hearts’ delight—and create the next scientific breakthrough—while contractors digitizing documents can access only certain data—and not copy it over to their personal data devices.

 

At the same time, if there aren’t any people ensuring that somebody doesn’t take classified paper documents (and entire disks) out of the premises, encryption will do no good.  Good security ensures that the weakest link is not scandalously weak—like some 23 year‑old rooming with a drug user. 

 

Oh, yeah.  I forgot to mention: the data breach was found out by accident when police busted the roommate during a drug raid.

 
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About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.