DOE slams Los Alamos on lax cybersecurity

Three computers stolen from an employee's home in January are just a few of the computers lost by the Lab over the years.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on

At the nation's premier nuclear reseach site - Los Alamos National Laboratory - security is famously tight, so much so that one imagines the Lab knows the whereabouts of every computer. But, of course, one would be wrong. According to a stern letter from the Department of Energy (PDF), Los Alamos has seen:

  • Three computers stolen from an employee's home in Santa Fe on Jan. 16.
  • Thirteen computers lost or stolen in the past year.
  • A total of 67 computers currently "missing."

The letter was released by the Project on Government Oversight. Peter Stockton, POGO Senior Investigator, said in a release:

It's great to see that the federal overseer is more aggressively pursuing its oversight role. But, the true test of how rigorous the government will be in holding the Lab to high security standards will be whether LASO [the Los Alamos Site Office] significantly cuts LANL's [Los Alamos National Laboratory] contract performance fees for FY09.

In the letter LASO managers complain that the Lab's lax reporting creates "cyber security" concerns and demands that personnel make formal reports on the status of the lost systems and develop an "aggressive plan" to stop future losses.

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