DC Trawler

U.S. gov’t agency destroys mice to eradicate virus

No, not the CDC. Not a hantavirus. This is about computer mice. Computer viruses. Seriously.

Here’s some of that #SmarterGov Obama promised us yesterday. I think he’ll need to change the Twitter hashtag to #SmartestGov!

Ars Technica:

US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is an agency in the Department of Commerce that promotes economic development in regions of the US suffering low growth, low employment, and other economic problems. In December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security notified both the EDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that there was a potential malware infection within the two agencies’ systems…

The EDA… recruited in an outside security contractor to look for malware and provide assurances that not only were EDA’s systems clean, but also that they were impregnable against malware. The contractor, after some initial false positives, declared the systems largely clean but was unable to provide this guarantee. Malware was found on six systems, but it was easily repaired by reimaging the affected machines.

EDA’s CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware.

The total cost to the taxpayer of this incident was $2.7 million…

To recap: A government agency you’ve never heard of, and that more than likely does more harm than good, wasted almost $3 million in tax dollars to destroy their own equipment in order to “solve” a problem. A “solution” that any grade-school student could’ve told them was an incredibly stupid overreaction.

Hooray for Utopia!

I once worked for a boss who put out a companywide memo instructing us not to store disks on their sides because the data might fall off. I have no idea which government agency that boss works for now.

(Hat tip: Mike Riggs)

Update: IRS releases thousands of Social Security numbers. They want us to believe this is because of #DumbGov, not #VindictiveGov. Those are the only two choices.