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US Nuclear Weapons Lab Loses 67 Computers

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the unlocated-is-doubleplus-good-doublespeak dept.

Security 185

pnorth writes "Officials from New Mexico's Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory have confessed that 67 of its computers are missing, with no less than 13 of them having disappeared over the past year alone. A memo [PDF] leaked by the Project on Government Oversight watchdog brought the lost nuclear laptops to the public's attention, but the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration dismissed fears the computers contained highly-sensitive or classified information, noting it was more likely to cause 'cybersecurity issues.' Three of the 13 computers which went missing in the past year were stolen from a scientist's home on January 16 and the memo also mentioned a BlackBerry belonging to another staff member had been lost 'in a sensitive foreign country.' The labs faced similar issues back in 2003 when 22 laptops were designated as being 'unlocated.'"

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better than... (3, Insightful)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26833949)

I guess causing 'cybersecurity issues' is better than 'nuclear warfare issues'.

Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab and Taco Stand (4, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834035)

"Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and Taco Stand: Come for the Nukes; stay for the tacos. "

Announcer: "If we lose your sensitive nuclear secrets, your next contract is FREEEEEE!!!!"

Re:Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab and Taco Stand (2, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835853)

"Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and Taco Stand: Come for the Nukes; stay for the tacos. "

You'd betta believe it. It's worth staying for the tacos. Visit the "Hot Rocks" cafe if you're ever over there. The tacos are very good.

Re:better than... (-1, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834521)

I guess causing 'cybersecurity issues' is better than 'nuclear warfare issues'.

This comment currently shows 2, Offtopic even though it directly addresses the summary/article. I'd love a good explanation of what could possibly be regarded as "offtopic" about that. Yet another argument for why the old meta-moderation system needs to be brought back.

I have karma to burn so do your worst to me. I'd rather you waste your points doing that than more crap like this.

Re:better than... (-1, Offtopic)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835227)

This comment currently shows 2, Offtopic even though it directly addresses the summary/article.

I'm waiting for someone to make an offtopic comment about your post.

I have a big dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26833967)

Just thought all of you would like to know. It's almost as big as a nigger dick! I mean shit, I gotta wrap the thing around my thigh several times just to put on a pair of pants. The ladies love it though.

Now I'll make a joke about Ballmer throwing chairs so the mods will be torn between modding me -1 Troll and +1 Funny. Their inner conflict will be so bad they will self-destruct! Mwa ha ha ha! Well ok not really.

Re:I have a big dick (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835541)

How much does MS pay for this?

tag it SNAFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26833969)

best to tag this one SNAFU.

Re:tag it SNAFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834331)

Agreed. People tend to jump right to fubar, as they have here, but it's not really appropriate. 13 laptops a year? That's pretty much exactly as fu as I'd expect. Maybe 200 a year would deserve a fubar tag.

13 a year is peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835287)

los alamos employs something like 15,000 people depending on how you count the contractors. They also have a much high rate of computer usage--multiple computers per person. They also have many computer loaned out to universities or incorporated in field equipment.

13 a year lost is peanuts. They should be getting a prize not a scolding.

Re:13 a year is peanuts (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835349)

Right. And Don't forget they are counting cell phones too! Only 13 lost per year. The FBI should send their agents to los alamos for cyber training.

 

Not looking in the right place...;-) (3, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26833985)

Check the resident BOFH's stash closet...he will probably cut you a good deal on buying them back if you ask nice.

Re:Not looking in the right place...;-) (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834377)

Anyone want some cheap hardware? It's not cutting edge, but you don't need to put any lights in it either...

taking care (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26833993)

I hope they take more care of their plutonium than they do of their computers!

Euphanisms? (2, Insightful)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26833999)

What "cybersecurity issues" could arise that do not involve sensitive secrets to be leaked?

Re:Euphemisms? (2, Insightful)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834213)

Passwords and credit info in plaintext, or plain ordinary personal info.

Re:Euphanisms? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834247)

Here's a good place to start: http://www.m-w.com/ [m-w.com]

Spooky (1)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834009)

I heard about this on Coast to Coast last night.

Re:Spooky (3, Funny)

soupforare (542403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835827)

C2CAM, always on the bleeding edge of news items relating to government conspiracy, aliens, ghosts and telekinetic lesbian space fish from the fourteenth dimension.

Oh hey (1, Insightful)

kjzk (1097265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834017)

America's greatest threat to national security and the economy is the government itself.

Re:Oh hey (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834639)

America's greatest threat to national security and the economy is the government itself.

That's correct, or more specifically the greatest threat is the mismanagement of government that allows it to operate outside of its legitimate roles which is why it can't correctly take care of basic things like this.

If the history of the 20th century isn't a lesson about the nature of government then I don't know what is. It's a shame that most people don't study this on their own so their primary exposure to it comes from government agents (known as "schoolteachers"). These people quite naturally believe in government (as opposed to regarding it as a necessary evil) or else they wouldn't work for it. Just do some research and add up all the known deaths during the 20th century that were caused by terrorism. Then do some more research and add up all the known deaths during the 20th century that were caused by people being murdered by their own governments. Compare those two numbers and note the vast difference in quantity. Tell me which is more dangerous.

Look on the bright side, (4, Funny)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834041)

At least they didn't lose any nukes.

Re:Look on the bright side, (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834199)

'At least they didn't lose any nukes." - That they *know* of.

Re:Look on the bright side, (4, Insightful)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834223)

Rather, that *we* know of.

Re:Look on the bright side, (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834401)

Hmmm, this is a moment for CAPTAIN SNICKER!

They just don't release that sort of information to the public.

/snicker

Inventory - its' a bitch! (5, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834045)

How many times have I told you guys... first you short the receivables and then you steal the goods. Damn govt. employees can't even get a simple thing like scraping off the top right.

Anyone RTFA? (2, Interesting)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834095)

Which "sensitive foreign country"?

Re:Anyone RTFA? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834297)

France.

Re:Anyone RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834335)

you must be new here.

Re:Anyone RTFA? (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834651)

Happyfriendlystan. The nation's president is bawling his eyes out over the matter as we speak.

Los Alamos is a laughing stock at other labs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834101)

I worked at Sandia National Labs for 4 summers, and Los Alamos was in the news no less than three times during that period for losing sensitive documents and hardware. By comparison, the biggest event at Sandia was a missing disk that turned out to have never existed - it was simply an order form that was never processed. That didn't matter, though - everyone in the department was required to sit through additional security classes as a precaution.

Re:Los Alamos is a laughing stock at other labs (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834427)

That's because Sandia needs all of their computers for serving up child porn and stalking musicians. http://www.abqjournal.com/news/metro/585899metro08-12-07.htm [abqjournal.com] http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/05/ff_linkinpark?currentPage=1 [wired.com]

Re:Los Alamos is a laughing stock at other labs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834509)

Not only that, but I find that when you think about your breathing you become aware of it.

Re:Los Alamos is a laughing stock at other labs (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834585)

Think of all the poor children that can now find the laptop of their dreams at the local pawnshop.

Sandia is a laughing stock at other labs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835707)

Sandia not in the news? Ha! They even fired people who revealed the chinese were stealing their secrets [blogspot.com] , getting hacked by pakistani script kiddies [hackinthebox.org] . When you consider that sandia is tiny compared to Los Alamos (which spans 47 square miles) you have to realize their rate of serious security breaches is much worse. Los alamos has not reported any break-ins during the same period. No wonder they don't let Sandia store nuclear materials.

"Missing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834117)

A lot of things seem to go "missing" around here also. Say this is a nice Toshiba, I bet the wife would like it. Ooooppppssss perhaps I've said too much...

This doesn't jive (3, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834131)

three of the 13 computers which went missing in the past year were stolen from a scientist's home

Either this guy gets robbed a lot, or he's been stealing laptops.

Re:This doesn't jive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834193)

They could have been stolen all at the same time as part of a burglary or something.

Re:This doesn't jive (0, Troll)

myVarNamesAreTooLon (1474005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834295)

How many people do YOU know that keep 13 computers in their ho... wait, scratch that... this is /.

Re:This doesn't jive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834319)

Three of them were stolen from his home - not 13. Reading comprehension FTW!

Re:This doesn't jive (2, Informative)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835271)

All three were stolen on the same date (January 16th), but as the article points out, the more disturbing fact is that only one of the three was authorized for home use.

Alternative fuel for Laptops (5, Funny)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834141)

Project on Government Oversight watchdog brought the lost nuclear laptops to the public's attention

so now they have nuclear laptops. WOW and mine still runs solar power.

Re:Alternative fuel for Laptops (2, Funny)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834327)

Lets just hope none of the lost ones were armed.

Re:Alternative fuel for Laptops (3, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834593)

so now they have nuclear laptops. WOW and mine still runs solar power.

From the sound of things, they have a whole Beowulf cluster of them!

Re:Alternative fuel for Laptops (4, Funny)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834897)

so now they have nuclear laptops. WOW and mine still runs solar power.

From the sound of things, they have a whole Beowulf cluster of them!

Or used to anyway...

Shouldn't the harddrives be encrypted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834147)

Boot it up from a read only partition, with the keys only delivered from a central server upon connecting with a valid log on? I'm sure such a thing is easily possible.

Re:Shouldn't the harddrives be encrypted? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834329)

You could also just do it the easy way, and connect to a terminal server to work on sensitive stuff.

Good news everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834207)

The computers had Linux installed, so its quite likely that the theives will get frustrated and just install windows.

I just wonder one thing (0, Troll)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834261)

I just wonder one thing. How many examples of incompetency like this do we need before maybe people will reconsider whether having government get into the health care business and all these other "growth areas" for government is really such a good idea? I mean, at least law enforcement, public works, and national defense really are legitimate roles of government; this one would fall under "national defense" and they failed miserably with this too.

I suggest that this incident highlights the fundamental untrustworthiness of government even when it's performing what is without question one of its proper roles. I mentioned some implications of this that may or may not have crossed your minds. What I am not doing is endorsing any alternative proposals or anything like that. I think we already have enough presented problems and prefabricated solutions; philosophical understanding or at least a grasping of some simple principles are what I'd like to see more of. I observe that our Founding Fathers had a strong and well-founded distrust of governmental power and that history since then has only provided more reasons to feel this way. I see this and then I notice that most Americans don't appreciate it, and that's despite the fact that we are close to becoming a totalitarian police state (to you reactionary knee-jerk types, the health care issue is not why I feel that way). The stage is set for it and if you study the early history of some of the 20th century's worst dictatorships, the parallels to their situation and ours are appalling. I just wonder at what point we can all decide "hey, the government is big enough and powerful enough and nothing good will become of continuing to expand it, maybe it's time to try something new".

Re:I just wonder one thing (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834423)

You do realize that Los Alamos, while it is a government project in the broad sense, is run by Los Alamos National Security LLC [wikipedia.org] , a private, for profit, corporation?

Re:I just wonder one thing (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834847)

You do realize that Los Alamos, while it is a government project in the broad sense, is run by Los Alamos National Security LLC [wikipedia.org] , a private, for profit, corporation?

If I hire an employee I am responsible for what he does. If you feel that the employee does a poor job and that something should be done about that, it would make sense to come to me because I'm the one who hired him. Do you catch my drift? That doesn't mean that the employee is blameless, of course, and it would be silly to suggest that it does. What it does mean is that none of this shifts the responsibility.

I see the outsourcing to private corporations that goes on. Even when the corporation doesn't just coincidentally happen to be owned by someone who has close connections to government officials, it results in a very powerful entity that the media almost never talks about which is known as the military-industrial complex [wikipedia.org] . You talk about a faceless machine with no regard for human life or human dignity, well, there is none on the planet that matches this one. None of this changes any point I've made, however.

Re:I just wonder one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835265)

That private company was created very recently, precisely for the purpose of privatizing the operation of the labs, because the government didn't think the the previous contract holder (the University of California) was doing a good job with security. A lot of people think things have only gotten worse since, and the (extremely expensive) switch was a bad move. But perhaps it's not fair to judge them yet since it takes years or decades to change the kind of stuff (bad security habits, structural problems, whatever) that goes on at Los Alamos. They've been having leaks like this ever since they've existed.

Re:I just wonder one thing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834477)

Exactly. This is why we need to trust everything to the private sector. Everything . Can you remember the last time you heard of a major corporation screwing something up? Huh? Didn't think so. They have shareholders to keep track of them, and we all know how dedicated and right they are please don't sell guys I need my yearly yacht. It's like how rock-solid the U.S. banking industry has been; they have actual human shareholders running it, not some government clones, and nothing's ever gone wrong.

This is why you should leave everything in the hands of untrained civilians and profit-driven shareholders. It just makes so much more sense that way.

Re:I just wonder one thing (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834553)

I just wonder one thing. How many examples of incompetency like this do we need before maybe people will reconsider whether having government get into the health care business

Other countries do it far better than US private industry can. The secret to running effective government services is not to appoint horse judges unless the task involve judging horses.

As always however, a mixture instead of an extreme is often the best solution.

Back to the original article - we've just come through a long period where "being a member of the party" is a better way to get ahead than acheivements. If that makes you think of Godwin's law so be it, but it personally makes me think of shoddy third world kleptocracies.

Re:I just wonder one thing (1)

Quest4RelativeTruth (1473873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834725)

Because private industry sucks at running healthcare and is killing people who could easily be saved by access to medical care. I'd rather have the government provide healthcare than no one at all.

Re:I just wonder one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835603)

Back to the original article - we've just come through a long period where "being a member of the party" is a better way to get ahead than acheivements. If that makes you think of Godwin's law so be it, but it personally makes me think of shoddy third world kleptocracies.

Silly boy. We haven't gotten through that time yet. The only difference is whose party it is. He'll still cry if he wants to.

Re:I just wonder one thing (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834671)

In the past year, I've had my bank write to me on TWO separate occasions to say that some private company accidentally leaked my bank details and, as a safeguard, they were changing my credit card number and subscribing me to a credit-watch service.

I have more trust in the US government than in the US private sector.

Re:I just wonder one thing (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834759)

What makes you think that the private sector is any better?

Re:I just wonder one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835131)

I just wonder one thing. How many examples of incompetency like this do we need before maybe people will reconsider whether having government get into the health care business and all these other "growth areas" for government is really such a good idea? I mean, at least law enforcement, public works, and national defense really are legitimate roles of government; this one would fall under "national defense" and they failed miserably with this too.

You might be interested to know that the Los Alamos facility is managed and directed by a private sector company for the Department of Energy and that the overwhelming majority of people employed at the facility work for this private sector company NOT the U.S. Government.

Re:I just wonder one thing (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835337)

It's why I think we should establish a BuSab [wikipedia.org] - only for corporations that have become abusive rather than governments. A few come to mind: Sony, Microsoft, <insert medical insurance carrier here>, *IAA etc.

Private companies don't loose laptops? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835455)

What is the theft rate of laptops in private companies? With almost 10k employees, 13 computers a year doesn't sound that high, especially considering that Los Alamos would likely be more targeted for theft than a normal company. Note - these computers were not being used to process classified information, so there was no reason to protect them at a higher level than a normal company would protect Proprietary or Personnel information.

Re:I just wonder one thing (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835467)

Government incompetence. Hmmm. Like social security, the monetary system or the military? How about food and drug safety? Chlorinated water or municipal water supplies? Government can work fine. Of course, it doesn't work fine when conservatives slowly choke off the money, get the inevitable decreases in efficiency, and then proudly tout the government incompetence prior to shutting down yet another needed service to save money for their k-street corporate handlers. Examples of where this *doesn't* happen. Sweden. Denmark. Finland. Most of the Euro zone.

Good PR..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834403)

    They should get this guy to do PR for the banking industry. "It's OK everyone! They didn't rob the bank, we just gave them the keys to the safe."

Nuclear Laptops (1)

solweil (1168955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834419)

I bet you can go a really long time without recharging those.

Unlocated (2, Funny)

chekk4 (1367067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834439)

That's it. My computer is not "lost"; it is merely "unlocated".

LANL, The Rest of the Story Blog (1)

DougDot (966387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834451)

The story is also being covered here. This post seems to sum it up nicely:

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2009/02/larry-moe-and-kevin.html [blogspot.com]

The "Kevin" reference is to Kevin Roarke, the "truth-challenged" official spokesperson for Loas Alamos National Labs.

Nucular, err Nuclear Laptops?? (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834493)

What would be the estimated half-life of the battery? They've been holding out on us!

How about.... (1)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834529)

A new policy that says you leave facility equipment at the facility. Laptops stay on site. No more working from home. Productivity drops a bit, but lost information stops getting lost. I'm sure the workers would like to not work at home.

Morality and Plutonium: Where are the guards? (0)

i am calliope (1452699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834545)

Where are the guards? Where are the security personnel who watch doors to secret/classified labs containing computers with sensitive information? These are simple questions. They are about people with direct responsibility to the safeguarding of these computers. These sorts of people are people who don't always know what it is that they are guarding and thus may not know how vital their jobs are to this nation. I don't worry about these questions because they have easy answers like, "He took a long lunch", "No one was watching the door" etc. I worry about the other people. The people who walk by every day and notice something is missing but don't deign to ask a simple question, "where did that computer go?" 67 computers went missing and not one scientist noticed? Scientists are educated in the scientific method where a lack of information, or wrong information is seen as the enemy. Scientists should hold themselves duty bound to always tell the truth if only for the reason that if the truth is not told, there can be no progress. In truth, scientists should be as much the guardians of the information they are privy too as the people whose job it is to expressly guard those computers. What has become of these computers is just as an important a questions as what has become of our (the scientific community) morality. For if we can not change our attitudes towards our responsibilities then we can not change our behaviors in respect to them. For all our sakes, I hope they accidentally skipped a room when they were searching.

Re:Morality and Plutonium: Where are the guards? (1)

Quest4RelativeTruth (1473873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834629)

They lost laptops, from scientist's homes, not desktops in a secure facility.

Re:Morality and Plutonium: Where are the guards? (2, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834801)

Where are the guards? Where are the security personnel who watch doors to secret/classified labs containing computers with sensitive information? These are simple questions. They are about people with direct responsibility to the safeguarding of these computers. These sorts of people are people who don't always know what it is that they are guarding and thus may not know how vital their jobs are to this nation. I don't worry about these questions because they have easy answers like, "He took a long lunch", "No one was watching the door" etc. I worry about the other people. The people who walk by every day and notice something is missing but don't deign to ask a simple question, "where did that computer go?" 67 computers went missing and not one scientist noticed? Scientists are educated in the scientific method where a lack of information, or wrong information is seen as the enemy. Scientists should hold themselves duty bound to always tell the truth if only for the reason that if the truth is not told, there can be no progress. In truth, scientists should be as much the guardians of the information they are privy too as the people whose job it is to expressly guard those computers. What has become of these computers is just as an important a questions as what has become of our (the scientific community) morality. For if we can not change our attitudes towards our responsibilities then we can not change our behaviors in respect to them. For all our sakes, I hope they accidentally skipped a room when they were searching.

While you're quite wrong on a bunch of stuff, let me point out that just because someone is good at surface science or handling energy cross-sections doesn't make them any smarter in other ways. Or observant, for that matter.

Some of the smartest people I've ever known (including myself) have made some of the dumbest mistakes and said some of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

Re:Morality and Plutonium: Where are the guards? (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835275)

In the olden days, when I was a kid growing up in Livermore, the Sandia Guards were considered pretty damn bad-ass, for rent-a-cops, while the LLL guards were a bit of a larf. As an innocent visitor, you'd be inspected, detected, suspected, &c... Meanwhile employees tended to have some amazing shit stashed in their garages, and the local paper often showed visiting delegations of Russian scientists on tour. (Surely not in any "sensitive" areas.) I heard about the "Shiva" LASER project from so many different lab employees over the years, I figured it might be disinformation. ("If I tell anyone about his, I'll go to jail...blah-blah-blah") My Dad, a pretty credible source I believe, used to work on some giant fucking magnets that were ...I can say no more.

Re:Morality and Plutonium: Where are the guards? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835971)

Where are the guards? Where are the security personnel who watch doors to secret/classified labs containing computers with sensitive information? These are simple questions.

Indeed, simple questions, with simple answers. The guards are presumably guarding the classified information of which you speak, since if you RTFA, you'd have found out that no classified information was lost. I guess the guards are doing a fine job then.

As for the 67 computers, I wonder how old they were. At many places I have worked, assets were tracked officially, but noone paid any attention to any computer over 5 years old. I suppose, officially they were "lost". MY GOD! someone lost a $10,000 PC. Let's see the specs are a top of the line 8088 at 4.77MHz [wikipedia.org] ! HOW COULD ANYONE LOOSE SUCH AN EXPENSICE COMPUTER? The government sucks! Private corporations would never do that. Especially not LANS [wikipedia.org] .

WOPR (1)

jadedoto (1242580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834581)

What, no WOPR tag?

LANL, The Rest of the Story Blog (1)

DougDot (966387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834645)

The story is also being covered here. This post seems to sum it up nicely:

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2009/02/larry-moe-and-kevin.html [blogspot.com] [blogspot.com]

The "Kevin" reference is to Kevin Roarke, the "truth-challenged" official spokesperson for Loas Alamos National Labs.

Reassurances... (3, Funny)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834675)

National Nuclear Security Administration dismissed fears the computers contained highly-sensitive or classified information...

He explained that the NNSA has lists of highly sensitive and classified information, and none of the laptops appear on those lists. At least, none of the laptops appear on their remaining lists.

-Loyal

NEVER would have happened in the old days (4, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834705)

This never would have happened back in the good old days of the Princeton IAS machine. [ucdavis.edu] People took good care of their computers then. And kept track of them. You never would have caught a scientist taking one home.

And children respected their parents, and a dollar was a dollar, and we had wonderful music--not this modern stuff, it's noise, I tell you, just noise.

Re:NEVER would have happened in the old days (2, Funny)

ca111a (1078961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26836093)

And computers were made of tubes! Not like these Internets today. oh, wait...

Morale at the lab was so bad (3, Informative)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834713)

They had a blog about it [parrot-farm.net]

Re:Morale at the lab was so bad (2, Interesting)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834823)

That was then.
This [blogspot.com] is now.

Re:Morale at the lab was so bad (3, Informative)

DougDot (966387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835067)

They still do:

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

And morale is even worse these days. Bechel has been a disaster since they took over the contract for LANL.

Re:Morale at the lab was so bad (2, Interesting)

DougDot (966387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835143)

Sorry to post a follow-up to my follow-up.

No, I'm not either -- you really need to see this post from the current LANL blog. It does a nice job of conveying the current level of morale there:

http://lanl-the-rest-of-the-story.blogspot.com/2009/02/larry-moe-and-kevin.html [blogspot.com]

The "Kevin" referred to in the post is Kevin Roarke, the "truth-challenged" official lab spokesperson.

Cybersecurity Issues (2, Interesting)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834741)

noting it was more likely to cause 'cybersecurity issues.'

This is a no-duh! type statement. Since actual classified material wasn't obtained, somehow the problem is less severe, right? After all, those 'cybersecurity issues' would never be used for anything as piddly as obtaining classified information.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the point of espionage?

In other news . . . (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834789)

scores of intelligence personnel descended on all the pawn shops in Oklahoma. [softpedia.com] Also all New Zealanders in the US were understandably nervous. :P

Atomic Cowboys (2, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834813)

The Air Force can't keep track of the weapons, Los Alamos can't keep track of the technical data, why is Iran spending money to develop nuclear technology? The way we keep up with our shit, they could probably just get it off Ebay.

How do you lose 67 computers ? (2, Funny)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834819)

... One computer at a time ...

New Mexico and heroin (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834875)

New Mexico is a hot bed of drug smuggling and gang activity. IIRC a few years ago they raided a trailer of some employees for drugs and came up with stolen computer gear.

No international spy conspiracy, just people selling stolen goods to get high.

Still, this is really lax security in an area rife with crime.

It's the illegal aliens (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26834895)

They cross the unprotected border from Mexico, bribe a couple workers, then smuggle the computer south so they can be sold to either Mexico politicians or Al Queda operatives (or both).

In other news:

An Arizona rancher named Roger Barnett is being sued by 18 illegal aliens. His crime? He turned-in 12,000 non-citizens to the Feds. I hope the lawsuit gets thrown-out.

To You Know Whom: +1, Incendiary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26834947)

A U.S. Ally [draqkhan.com.pk]

13 computers lost/stolen/year, 14000 employees (3, Insightful)

jfb2252 (1172123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835029)

There are ~14000 employees at LANL. I'd guess 20,000 laptop and desktop machines. 0.1% loss per year isn't bad. There's nothing in the article to say when the other 67 might have fallen off the radar.

Excerpt from POGO memo: (1)

theMoleofProduction (842123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835035)

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The authrorities (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835093)

should just cut power to the city and see who's house emits a green glow.

Cancel Their Contract! (1)

mwiley (823919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835119)

What does it take for this University to lose the contract with the U.S. Government? These guys have the worst security in the world and yet Washington keeps giving them the contract! Must be some payola going on.

If their lab is anything like our lab (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835291)

The "missing" computers were cannibalized for parts for the other computers.

It's a farce really, considering the Chinese already stole our nuclear secrets from Bush.

Stupid Bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26835709)

You stupid bastards!

Can't your organization do anything right? My god!

I really didn't want to have to learn to speak Mandarin, but now, damn...

Why haven't these people been prosecuted? Why aren't they held accountable?

Why? I WANT TO KNOW NOW!

I suspect Fuchs (1)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835739)

Security at Los Alamos is likely no less stringent or competent that any research institute, public or private. Incidents like these are more conspicuous because of the nature of the work done there. The balance between security and freedom to communicate ideas has always been a challenge when conducting research in sensitive areas. This has been a challenge at Los Alamos from the start, dating back to the Manhattan project.

You can't do research in a bubble.

The solution, ladies and gentlemen... (1)

sonic_assault (1194739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26835845)

Step one: VPN into the facility network. Step two: VNC into a virtualized PC. Step three: Do your work on the virtualized PC. Step four: End session. Step five: Enjoy a nice snifter of brandy as you don't have to worry about your data being stolen. Other than heavily encrypted and guarded back-up drives, my company doesn't let any data leave the premises. Yes, you can make the argument that any network outage would shut down your off-site operations, but it's a small hassle for the payoff in security.

67 computers walked off? (1)

macinit (1332645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26836073)

Los Almos from 1943 called and said you suck.

I used to work at a military research lab. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26836087)

In the DC area. There were armed guards at the gates that checked our IDs and vehicles every morning. We had so much stuff stolen out of our labs and offices that there had to be weekly warnings issued. Purses were routinely stolen out of offices during the day, and one night, three brand new desktop systems were stolen out of an office "pod". These were desktop boxes, including monitors (not flat screens but CRTs).

In retrospect, there were more thefts in that "high security" facility than any place I've worked at before or after.

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