Feds spend millions on computer malware mistake

Feds spend millions on computer malware mistake

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A federal agency mistakenly destroyed $170,000 worth of computer equipment and nearly destroyed $3 million more because it thought it had a virus that turned out to be a false alarm.

Among the equipment that was destroyed, according to a recent Inspector General report, was printers, keyboards, mice, TVs, cameras, and computers.

Apparently, the only reason the other $3 million in equipment was spared was that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) ran out of money for the destruction project.

The bungled operation started when the Department of Homeland Security reported that monitoring software warned of a possible malware infection in the computer system on Dec. 6, 2011.

That started an almost comical chain of inept reactions.

A DHS response team notified the Commerce Department that it had detected the potential malware infection. The malware infection was traced to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration computer. The report says that NOAA corrected the malware problem and put the system back into operation by Jan. 12, 2012.

But the report says that the EDA continued to assume its systems were infected. It took down the department's email and web access. It also blocked regional offices from accessing its database, apparently thinking a cyber attack had resulted in an extensive malware infection.

The Inspector General report found the EDA based its response decisions on inaccurate information, ineptitude delayed the response and misdirected planning hindered the system recovery.

Weeks of errant communications circulated inside several departments about the supposed malware infection and it was believed that nearly 150 systems were infected, even though that information was never verified.

The department then spent more than $800,000 to hire a cybersecurity contractor to respond to the incident. Within two weeks, the contractor found that initial indications of extremely persistent malware were false positives and not actual malware infections. The testing continued for another 10 weeks with no other malware finds.

Despite this, EDA management spent more than $1 million to build a temporary IT infrastructure. Then it decided to destroy more than $170,000 worth of its IT components. By August, 2012, it had run out of money and halted the destruction of its remaining IT components. EDA intended to resume the destruction once more funds were available.

The EDA ended up spending $2.7 million on the issue, more than half of its yearly IT budget.  It then estimated that it would need more than $26 million over the next three years to fund further system recovery efforts.

The Economic Development Administration's mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Massive brawl at NJ wedding

    Massive brawl at NJ wedding

    Monday, July 28 2014 2:24 PM EDT2014-07-28 18:24:34 GMT
    As many as 300 people became involved in a massive brawl at a New Jersey wedding hall that ended with two arrests on Sunday night.  Middletown police say that the fight broke out at about 10:30 p.m. at the Jacques Reception Hall on Palmer Ave. in Middletown.
    As many as 300 people became involved in a massive brawl at a New Jersey wedding hall that ended with two arrests on Sunday night.  Middletown police say that the fight broke out at about 10:30 p.m. at the Jacques Reception Hall on Palmer Ave. in Middletown.
  • 2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective shot

    2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective shot

    Monday, July 28 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-07-28 18:23:41 GMT
    Two deputy U.S. marshals, an NYPD detective, and a sexual assault suspect have been shot in a shootout in lower Manhattan, officials said. Speaking at a news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the marshals and cop were taken to a local hospital with apparently non-life threatening injuries.
    Two deputy U.S. marshals, an NYPD detective, and a sexual assault suspect have been shot in a shootout in lower Manhattan, officials said. Speaking at a news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the marshals and cop were taken to a local hospital with apparently non-life threatening injuries.
  • Accused Long Island cop killer found guilty

    Accused Long Island cop killer found guilty

    Monday, July 28 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-07-28 16:49:08 GMT
    An ex-convict suspected of gunning down a Nassau County police officer and then fatally shooting a carjacking victim was found guilty on all counts in the murders on Monday. Darrell Fuller, 33, shot and killed Police Officer Arthur Lopez in October 2012 who suspected he had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Authorities said Fuller then fled that shooting and killed the second victim, Raymond Facey of Queens, while stealing his vehicle.
    An ex-convict suspected of gunning down a Nassau County police officer and then fatally shooting a carjacking victim was found guilty on all counts in the murders on Monday. Darrell Fuller, 34, shot and killed Police Officer Arthur Lopez in October 2012 who suspected he had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Authorities said Fuller then fled that shooting and killed the second victim, Raymond Facey of Queens, while stealing his vehicle.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices