Navy searching for hundreds of missing computers

At least 595 laptops and desktops belonging to the US Navy's Pacific Command in Hawaii have been potentially lost or compromised, according to an internal report that detailed the service's inability to account for hundreds of computers, some of which contained classified data.

The audit, conducted in July by the Naval Audit Service and obtained last week by a defense industry trade magazine despite Navy efforts to block its release, concluded that the mishap poses a "threat to national security."

The report identifies failures and breakdowns in the Navy's system for tracking sensitive equipment deployed aboard Navy ships and submarines -- a system that remains largely paper-based and manual.

This isn't the first time the military has lost computers containing sensitive data. For example, in August, two laptop computers classified at the top-secret level disappeared from a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) run by the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. The only reason those laptops were discovered to be missing was that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had ordered investigators to look into how plans for an invasion of Iraq had leaked to the media.

Missing laptop and hard-drive fiascos have also stung the State Department, the Department of Energy and even the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in recent years. In August, the Justice Department acknowledged that it couldn't located 400 laptops and 775 weapons belonging to the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency. In addition, the classification level of 317 of the computers belonging to the FBI couldn't be determined.

Accountability problems often stem from the fact that individual military and civilian agency officials are appointed as control or accountability officers for a vast array of equipment, including mobile computers, desks and chairs, that's often deployed for extended periods of time around the world. In addition, the process of keeping tabs on equipment is often determined by the individual officer assigned to manage the hardware and isn't subject to any departmentwide or governmentwide standard.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Verton

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?