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Risky Thinking
On Risk Management, Business Continuity, and Security
24 June, 2017
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What's worth $4.9billion and fits in the back of your car?

(You will need to read the article to find the answer!)
Marauder: Picture Wikipedia

If your had to transport something worth $4.9 billion dollars, you would do so in a pretty awesome vehicle, wouldn’t you? Perhaps you would use something like the Marauder, pictured above, to do the job.

You certainly wouldn’t leave it in the back of a car, would you? But that’s what happened recently to something worth $4.9 billion belonging to the the U.S. Department of Defense.

So what is worth $4.9 billion dollars and fits in the back of a car?

The answer is data. According to this report in the Army Times backup tapes containing personal medical and financial data on 4.9 million people being transported by an employee of Science Applications International Corp disappeared from the back of a car while in transit to a secure facility on September 13th. A class action lawsuit is claiming $1,000 on behalf of every person whose data was lost, as well as free credit monitoring for each of them for a year.

Is the data worth $4.9 billion: probably not. Is there a potential liability of $4.9 billion. Perhaps.

It’s certainly something that should be considered when transporting or storing data. The question to ask is not just “how much is this data worth to us?” but “how much might this data cost us if it gets stolen?”


(If you enjoy their sense of humor, you might enjoy this road test of a Maraudercarried out by the UK BBC Top Gear team. Their road test includes a comparison with the Hummer, including the effects of a charge of 7lbs of plastic explosive placed beneath the vehicle.)

Michael Z. Bell
October, 2011

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