NJ discovers secure data on end-of-life computers

Audit reveals Social Security numbers, child abuse case files, among other information left on PCs allocated for auction

New Jersey’s Office of the State Comptroller has discovered secure or personal data on 79 percent of the state’s work computers involved in a recent audit, according to an article on Government Technology.

Among the data found on the computers were Social Security numbers, child abuse case files and personal files of a state judge.

The computers, which had been allocated for public auction, should have had, in keeping with state guidelines, all the data removed from their hard drives before they were sent to New Jersey’s surplus property warehouse, where they were being stored and where the investigation took place. However, it appears that some state agencies failed to comply.

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Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 Dan Washington, D.C.

Regarding both the article and Old Sarge's comment blaming Chris Christie, I have the following to say. First, adding more overpaid government bodies that NJ cannot afford isn't the answer. What is required is a more disciplined and programmatic approach to the problem. I suggest that like many other commercial and government organizations are now doing, that the State of NJ look to virtualize as many desktops as possible. This holds the data in the datacenter, while allowing role-based access, which can optionally further be restricted by role to prevent local copying, printing or storing of data on hard drives or thumb drives, etc. This not only eliminates the need to wipe a hard drive (diskless computers can even be employed), it prevents employees from downloading or emailing confidential data for sale or other illegal use. Access by the increasing number and variety of mobile devices is the other problem not addressed by this article, especially when lost. Virtualized Desktops and Applications again mitigate this concern. Technology, not adding legions of overpaid government works is the answer, along with sound policy…security should always be executed in a layered approach.

Tue, Mar 15, 2011 Ed

Lame excuse, Sarge -- just 'cause blaming George Bush doesn't work any more, doesn't mean you can switch over to blaming Christie for everything.

Mon, Mar 14, 2011 Old Sarge DC

Two words - budget cuts. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cut the funds/positions that would have covered the mandated clean up of the hard drives. Oh, well! If you want it bad, you get it bad. That is what happens with blind mandated hacks into the budget. Lay the blame where it belongs - at the Governor's feet.

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