So this one's gonna make you mad or exasperated or maybe even (for the less cynical among you) a little shocked at how stupid some people in power can be.

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

According to the Department of Commerce's audit of the Economic Development Administration that was released last month, in December of 2011 the EDA, who are the guys specifically in charge of dealing with economic ills such as unemployment and places with slow economic growth, flipped their collective lids because there was a possible malware infection in their system.

Okay, you guys know what malware is, right? Viruses, trojans- the sort of things you get from clicking on banner ads, opening suspicious emails from gents in Nigeria, or that come free when you download things of questionable legality. Their effects range from annoying to very very annoying. Typically the way to fix them is to run your antivirus program and zap them all or -worst case scenario- reformat your hardrive because your years of clicking banner ads while trying to get their promised free ipads has caused Norton to throw up its hands and and flip you off on the way out the door.

The point is malware, while annoying, can be fixed. So how did the EDA react to this problem?

    "The EDA ... responded by cutting its systems off from the rest of the world—disabling its enterprise e-mail system and leaving its regional offices no way of accessing centrally held databases."
Well, okay. Seems a little drastic, but these guys are taking their jobs seriously, I suppose. . .
    "It then recruited 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."
There we go! End of story, right? They fixed the problem and everything is okeedokee from now on-
    "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: $823,000 went to the security contractor for its investigation and advice, $1,061,000 for the acquisition of temporary infrastructure (requisitioned from the Census Bureau), $4,300 to destroy $170,500 in IT equipment, and $688,000 paid to contractors to assist in development of a long-term response. Full recovery took close to a year."

. . .

THESE PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE OF THE MONEY. They are a government agency that is supposed to be stimulating the economy and they just pissed away- Wait. Article, go back a paragraph. What was that line right there?

    "The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware."

They only stopped because they ran out of money.


    "The malware that was found was common stuff. There were no signs of persistent, novel infections, nor any indications that the perpetrators were nation-states rather than common, untargeted criminal attacks. The audit does, however, note that the EDA's IT infrastructure was so badly managed and insecure that no attacker would need sophisticated attacks to compromise the agency's systems."

I'm going to assume you know why that's stupid and move on.

And the irony of it all is that if they hook up brand new computers to a system that already has malware in it, then those new shiny computers are going to have the same virus problems as the last ones.

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