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Department Of Commerce Spent Half Its IT Budget Fighting Malware Infection

The department’s method for defending itself was simple: Destroy as much equipment as possible, computer mice included.

Department Of Commerce Spent Half Its IT Budget Fighting Malware Infection
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The U.S. Commerce Department destroyed $170,000 of computer gear in an attempt to stamp out a “a major malware infection.”

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Printers, TVs, and mice all came under the department’s whac-a-mole-esque hammer–in fact, the civil servants only stopped when they ran out of hammer budget, so to speak. An audit by the the Department of Commerce itself called the process “clearly unnecessary.”

The virus had only been present on two items of hardware–a fact which some department employees knew to be true, but which did not stop the destruction. After 250 pieces of equipment had been destroyed, the department was told to “appropriately and effectively” respond to digital security breaches in the future, rather than destroying everything in sight.

[Image by Flickr user Reid Rosenberg]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S

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