A laptop stolen from a Veterans Affairs Department contract worker was not encrypted, as required by department rules. In a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, one lawmaker wants to know why. Congressman Steve Buyer of Indiana also called on Shinseki to come up with a plan within 30 days to eliminate unencrypted computers carried by contractors. Buyer is the top-ranked Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee. The laptop was stolen in April from the worker’s car, and it contained personally identifiable information on 644 veterans, including medical records, NextGov reports. The encryption rule was initiated after a 2006 laptop theft that contained health information on millions of veterans and their spouses.
Facebook is taking new steps to protect its millions of users against Internet criminals. The social networking site now will let you be notified about possible signs that someone is trying to tamper with your pages. For example, you can be alerted if someone tries to access your account from a computer or mobile device you haven’t used before. Such alerts can be sent by e-mail or by text message. Facebook will also throw up roadblocks when it notices unusual activity – like more than one log-in attempt from different parts of the world. And users will also be able to check where the latest log-ins have come from. Some of these changes are already available, while others are still being tested and will launch over the next few weeks.
A House panel could vote as early as next week to create a permanent national cyber coordinator, and to give that position budget authority. That job is currently filled by Howard Schmidt. The bill is part of a broader attempt to overhaul federal cybersecurity. It would also cement into law the federal Chief Technology Officer’s position, now filled by Aneesh Chopra. NextGov reports the committee hopes to send it to the full House by Memorial Day.