Jim Nicholson, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) secretary, on Monday said that every VA department computer will soon undergo upgrades that include improved information security encryption, Federal Computer Week reports.
The VA plans on having all laptops upgraded within a month, and upgrades of its desktop machines, as well as portable drives and other media, will follow soon thereafter, according to FCW. Laptop encryption will begin on Aug. 18, FCW reports.
The security upgrade will be performed as part of a $3.7 million contract awarded this month to SMS, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based firm that’s owned by disabled veterans, and it will feature encryption solutions from Trust Digital and GuardianEdge, FCW reports.
The encryption software is in the final stages of testing, and implementation and training aids are being developed, according to FCW.
Nicholson said, “I have promised America’s veterans that I intend to make VA information security a model of data security, and this expedited encryption program is a major step in that direction,” FCW reports.
Just last week, the VA announced that a laptop containing sensitive information on as many as 36,000 U.S. military veterans was stolen from a facility used by VA subcontractor Unisys. That news followed May’s highly publicized VA laptop theft announcement, regarding the theft of a computer containing information on 26.5 million military veterans from a VA analyst’s home. Earlier this month, the VA said two men were arrested in relation to the theft.
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