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

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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?

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