NASA Breaches Own Security
NASA's Inspector General recently reported that sensitive documents
were stored on a local-area network drive at a space agency facility and
were accessible to all network users. The network drive was configured improperly
for a new clerical worker. It was supposed to facilitate file transfers
within the center. Instead, the clerical worker's files were dumped into
a public drive used for sharing documents.
The data was "as public as a bulletin board," said one federal worker
with knowledge of the incident. The IG report recommended that sensitive
and other controlled information should not be saved or stored on network
drives and that the information be protected in other ways too. Another
lesson always recheck the system before activating it. It did not appear
there was a breach of security, but let's not tell "Mafiaboy" about this
Tax Headache? Don't Call Us
One of our loyal readers from Vienna, Va., writes that this year he
tried to use the H & R Block online tax program, and it failed him miserably.
Although our taxpaying friend intended to pay $2,000 in owed taxes electronically,
the company's software interpreted the amount as $2.00, resulting in a substantial
underpayment debited from his checking account. Our loyal reader tried valiantly
to repair the error on April 17 the day he first learned of the problem,
but upon calling the IRS and being put on hold for more than an hour, he
was told to write a check immediately. "They told me that I had to write
a check to the IRS for the total amount of the tax due and put it in the
mail. They also told me that the IRS was not extending the deadline for
this payment, so it had to be postmarked by Monday night the worst day
of the year to have to go to the post office." Don't forget, the always
friendly and ever helpful IRS wants to have 80 percent of all taxpayers
filing online by 2008, but this kind of record just might just scare folks
Hoofing It for the Census
Census Director Kenneth Prewitt has listed many interesting jobs on
his resume, from philanthropy to academia, but last week he disclosed a
new one. In 1960, as a graduate student at Harvard University, he worked
for the Census Bureau as an enumerator, walking door-to-door through Charlestown,
a tough Boston neighborhood. He told enumerators gathered for a training
session in Falls Church, Va., that he knows exactly what they will face that doors will be shut in their faces and that people won't believe they
are real Census workers. Nevertheless, he urged them to persevere and get
that Census information. Who knows, an enumerator today, the Census director
Even the Pope Gets E-mail
Not to be outdone by the Vatican, which has its own e-mail address,
the Rev. Daniel Coughlin, the new House chaplain and first Roman Catholic
priest to hold the job, comes to Washington as computer-savvy as many of
the House members he will be shepherding. The appointment of Coughlin was
intended to quell the uproar when House Republicans passed over another
Catholic priest recommended by a search committee in favor of a Presbyterian
minister. Coughlin, the vicar for priests in the Chicago archdiocese, has
a computer and knows how to use it, according to Linda, the receptionist
in the chaplain's office. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to pry his
e-mail address out of her.
There may be some rumblings in religious circles about the use of cyberspace.
In his Easter address, the Archbishop of Canterbury denounced the material
trappings of the "dot.com society."
And the new Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev. Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor, talked of the "temptations and distractions" of a business
society, the BBC reported. Coughlin, who has already gotten a crash course
in Washington hardball, is not taking press calls about computers or anything
else these days.
Have a tip? Send it to [email protected].