March 27, 2012

It's like Watergate... but with laptops and iPads.

And who knows who committed this theft?
Last Friday, two campaign aides left their rented SUV in the Horton Plaza parking garage while they got dinner. When they returned, someone had grabbed all their belongings, including two iPads, two handheld radios and two laptops with detailed information about Romney's presidential campaign.

Police said there was no sign of forced entry on the SUV and they are still not sure if the burglary was random or if Romney's aides were targeted. Luna said the laptops and iPads could be a treasure trove of valuable insider information for Romney's opponents.

25 comments:

Original Mike said...

Did they grab the Etch-A-Sketch, too?

MB said...

It is technically possible to track iPhones and iPads because of the built-in GPS. Also they can take photos of the user.

I don't know how feasible this is if the apps are not already installed. They should check with Apple Inc.

Bob Ellison said...

Does Liddy have an alibi?

tim maguire said...

Or it's a clever misdirection!

bagoh20 said...

Interesting. So if it was just common thievery, the thieves just found out there may be someone out there willing to pay a premium for these particular items far above what they would normally bring.

The challenge will be for the Dems to find the thieves and make an offer, and then call the cops to make the sting. Would they do the second part?

rcommal said...

As noted, surely they had the "find my" feature activated on the iPads?!? (And also used password lock.)

Although, I suppose that if by "no sign of forced entry" the article really means "the vehicle was left unlocked with this stuff inside," there's likely no "surely" about it.

File this under "technology is no cure for...carelessness [stupidity]."

traditionalguy said...

I suggest they see where the Russian intelligence agents were that week.

Putin could have the data by now and be getting ready to trade it to Obama for the the kill command codes on our missile interceptor missiles.

But that would be a waste of Russian time since they already have that promise in their pockets.

Curious George said...

"Romney's campaign spokesman told 10News the burglary is unfortunate and is an inconvenience. He added that he is not concerned about the stolen information."

So there's no freaky Mormon porn on it.

KLDAVIS said...

The three most important things to remember when dealing with data are: encryption, encryption, encryption.

Scott M said...

Putin could have the data by now and be getting ready to trade it to Obama for the the kill command codes on our missile interceptor missiles.

I thought we lost those in SALT and SALT II. I was young, but I remember it being a sore point.

Peter said...

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Laptops are stolen (and lost) all the timne. IF your laptop contains uniquely valuable information, then install a copy of McAfee or some other software that encrypts the entire disk.

Yes, the software will degrade the performance of the computer. But if the information is that valuable, how dumb is it to not protect it?

Wally Kalbacken said...

If it was important, and they were not using encryption, I'd say that would be a huge chink in the business administration expertise argument for Romney. I mean that would be really stupid.

On the other hand, if you assigned random staffers laptops, phones and other devices deliberately loaded with false information (the equivalent of a seeded list), just so you could trace the flow of opposition research in Obama's camp, that would be brilliant.

Tibore said...

Mobile Me can do a remote lock and, if necessary, a "wipe". But "Find my i(device)" must have been turned on to begin with.

Mobile device security is something I'm forced to study and deal with in my job. What happens because of the theft depends completely on what the owners did to the devices prior to the theft. If the devices are protected, then the information's secure. If not, well... I won't say they only have themselves to blame because the thieves had a choice too. But they bear partial responsibility for the resultant problem if they were lax about security on those iPads.

As far as the laptops are concerned: Yes, drives should be encrypted if they have sensitive information. That way, they can't be removed, placed into simple external cases (found for as little as $30 in Best Buy's and Targets around the nation) and read. That's something most users don't pay much attention to, though, so a chance of information compromise from that avenue is unfortunately all too possible. So much depends on the specific of the situation.

Pat said...

I recently heard a beat cop (in Houston) say, if you leave anything in a car that looks like it has a laptop in it, it will be gone when you get back, guaranteed.

So I question the judgment of a staffer who would leave something in a car with anything valuable on it.

Tibore said...

"Peter said...
IF your laptop contains uniquely valuable information, then install a copy of McAfee or some other software that encrypts the entire disk."


Heck, you don't even need a 3rd party product. Presuming at least Vista if not Windows 7 (if these are Windows computers, that is), Bitlocker is built right in.

Even if these are Macbooks, there are whole disk encryption products available. The point is that Peter and others are right: Such products should be used where business data stored on the devices is sensitive and requires protection.

gadfly said...

International implications are afoot. Horton Plaza is a Westfield mall, owned by Australians.

I guess we can call this entire kerfuffle, "Horton Hides A 'Roo."

prairie wind said...

Just like Watergate? I think not.

Watergate had Nixon and Republicans. SUVgate has Obama and Democrats...and we all know they wouldn't do something like this.

edutcher said...

It's only Watergate if it was targeted by the Demos (Santorum is in the flop sweat stage).

Of course, that's a real possibility, given the Demos.

Most likely a random heist, but, yeah, you don't leave valuables in the car any more.

bagoh20 said...

The challenge will be for the Dems to find the thieves and make an offer, and then call the cops to make the sting. Would they do the second part?

Another darling innocent.

Were you and Ann separated at birth?

WV "resclit" Not sure, but it sounds like a job for the Rangers or SEAL Team.

EMD said...

"say that would be a huge chink in the business administration expertise argument for Romney"

No need to be racist, Wally.

Captcha: Etch-atio the hert. Make of it what you will.

Smilin' Jack said...

Luna said the laptops and iPads could be a treasure trove of valuable insider information for Romney's opponents.

Cool. I hope they post pictures of Romney strapping his dog to the roof of his car while dressed in his goofy underwear.

Revenant said...

It amazes me that people still leave valuable electronics in their car.

Michael K said...

Never, never, never leave laptops in such a public place. I was at a conference in Nashville a few years ago. At lunch the hosts invited us to leave out laptops as the room would be locked. Not me ! I took my laptop to lunch. WE came back to find missing laptops. The funniest was a security consultant who was beside himself because his laptop was stolen and the data wasn't backed up !

Larry J said...

Oh, no! The laptops might contain the super-secret algorithms that select Romney's position on bedrock principles depending on the day and audience!

Synova said...

Unless the information is as "damaging" as Sarah Palin's e-mails.

I wouldn't expect that campaigns hold fast to plans and schedules made months ahead of time. Releasing an ad to a particular market might be thwarted by opponents, but there ought to be enough flexibility in the design of it that it's not a disaster.

EMD said...

This isn't like Watergate at all.