U.S. Commerce Department unnecessarily destroyed $170K worth of IT gear to hunt down malware

By on July 9, 2013, 12:00 PM
malware, hardware, commerce department, destroyed, it gear

We’ve probably all reached a level of frustration when dealing with a malfunctioning or malware-infested PC or gadget where we simply want to smash it to bits. The U.S. Department of Commerce is no exception it seems as they took matters into their own hands to deal with a pesky malware issue last year.

In 2012, the department shelled out more than $2.7 million (more than half of their annual IT budget) trying to track down what appeared to be a major malware infestation. Acting on the guidance of the CIO of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the department subsequently destroyed more than $170,000 worth of IT components including desktops, printers, TVs, cameras, computer mice and keyboards.

The department exhausted funds for the effort in August 2012 and thus had to halt the destruction of its remaining IT gear, valued at over $3 million. The plan was to continue the destructive behavior once more funds were available but as it turns out, it was all completely unnecessary.

Come to find out, malware was only present on two pieces of equipment. Furthermore, some department members were fully aware of this but due to a series of misunderstandings, that information was never fully conveyed to the appropriate officials in charge.

An audit on the situation concluded the department needs to better prepare itself to respond to future security breaches. After all, what good is it going to do to toss out computer mice and keyboard in the hunt for malware?




User Comments: 16

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1 person liked this | Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

LMFAO. Dummies.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Furthermore, some department members were fully aware of this but due to a series of misunderstandings, that information was never fully conveyed to the appropriate officials in charge.

This is what we do when we want new toys to play with. Good job guys!

2 people like this | veLa veLa said:

Wow they definitely don't hire the right IT guys over there...

MilwaukeeMike said:

We need a 'D'oh!' award just like the Darwin award just so the Commerce Department can win it.

Guest said:

Wait! So your saying there was monetary waste in government? The hell you say!

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

What a bunch of boneheads. Everyone knows you should destroy only your screen because that's you'll see the problem.:eek:

Rasta211 said:

Wow. What will they do when they get malware in their tablets and smartphones?

1 person liked this | 9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

<Random Gov. worker says> "Hello IT? Nevermind that my TV was connected to an infected PC. They both have malware. And my digital camera too - I used it to take the picture of the malware that I sent to you. So, send me new hardware for those three things. Also, and got any new cars? I think our Lexus has malware on it. And our pizza gets malware. It must be an oven thing. Send fresh pizzas, daily. Thanks Obama!"

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"Oh don't worry about it, the taxpayers will pay for more computers..."

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I lol'd heartily at this yesterday. Oh to have their budgets...

1 person liked this | tonylukac said:

My brother's brother in law, Ron, who was smart otherwise-an accountant, used to buy new laptops every 6 months or so when they got bogged down with malware. Didn't know about malwarbytes I guess, nor this site. I guess you can call him morRon. I really couldn't help him, gave him my card to do it remotely, but he never called. He lived 600 miles away. I think that's what Microsoft and computer manufacturers intended.

freythman freythman said:

In 2012, the department shelled out more than $2.7 million (more than half of their annual IT budget) trying to track down what appeared to be a major malware infestation.

This much larger news than destroying $170k. They just effectively wasted nearly $3 million since they weren't properly prepared to defend themselves. O.o

MonsterZero MonsterZero said:

This is taxpayer theft IMO. They should be held accountable for their budget, not to mention exceeding it by nearly 3 million dollars.

Guest said:

Lesson learned, next time I see a pop up, beat the f*ck out of my computer. Nice...

Guest said:

"the department subsequently destroyed more than $170,000 worth of IT components including desktops, printers, TVs, cameras, computer mice and keyboards"

--> since when tv, camera, mice, printers, keyboards can be infected by malware?

"Come to find out, malware was only present on two pieces of equipment. Furthermore, some department members were fully aware of this but due to a series of misunderstandings, that information was never fully conveyed to the appropriate officials in charge."

--> a series of "misunderstandings"? It's either stupidity or mismanagement.. or there are several people inside who wants to replace whole department's IT gear with the newer models

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I wonder how much of that money was actually stolen.

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