Security risks at NIH?

The National Institutes of Health this week warned its employees that Apple Macintosh laptops cannot be encrypted using the agency's software, leaving unprotected sensitive data such as personal information (including linkurl:social security numbers);http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/09/AR2008040903680.html from thousands of clinical trial participants. In February, a laptop containing the unencrypted personal information from more than 3,000 patients participating in

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Apr 9, 2008
The National Institutes of Health this week warned its employees that Apple Macintosh laptops cannot be encrypted using the agency's software, leaving unprotected sensitive data such as personal information (including linkurl:social security numbers);http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/09/AR2008040903680.html from thousands of clinical trial participants. In February, a laptop containing the unencrypted personal information from more than 3,000 patients participating in an NIH clinical trial was linkurl:stolen;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/23/AR2008032301753.html from an NIH researcher's car trunk, prompting the agency to mandate the encryption of all laptops used by NIH staffers by April 4. Earlier this week, the agency posted guidelines for portable device encryption on its Web site, which said that Macs would be exempt from this deadline because the program the agency uses, PointSec, was in beta testing. I downloaded this document on Monday (Apr 7) from the NIH Web site, where it appears to no longer be available. So there's a potential security risk, but the size...

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