Romney Campaign Laptops Stolen

Romney's campaign staff says encryption makes the stolen laptops good for little more than parts.

Burglars broke into Mitt Romneys Boston presidential campaign headquarters over the weekend, making off with multiple laptops and a television.

Alex Burgos, a spokesman for the campaign, told eWEEK that the burglary happened sometime during the evening of Sept. 9. The forced entry into the building, a harbor side location on Commercial Street in Bostons North End neighborhood, appeared to be a "routine" burglary, he said, given that neither hard nor electronic copies of files were touched.

At any rate, the computer systems are password-enabled and the hard drives are encrypted, Burgos said.

"The only thing theyre good for is parts," campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Associated Press.


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That wont help much if the passwords were written on sticky notes or otherwise affixed to the systems, however, pointed out Jeff Rubin, vice president of marketing and strategy for Beachhead Solutions, a Santa Clara, Calif., vendor of remote-control data destruction technology.

"The problem isnt going through encryption. Its going through the password," he said. "If a crook gets access to that six- or eight-character password, theres no more encryption."

Indeed, in a paper published in October 2006, Nucleus Research noted that more than one out of three users write their passwords down.

Burgos said there was no concern about written-down passwords being an issue with the stolen laptops.

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