A LAPTOP that was password protected but not encrypted and stuffed chock full of NASA employee data has gone walkabout, causing the US space agency to warn its staff.
Officially, reports Reuters, the laptop was stolen - stolen from an unattended car by an opportunist that saw a laptop in a car and took it.
We do not know what happened to it, nor what its fate might be. But the apparent theft of a laptop issued to an employee at NASA headquarters could affect thousands of people, according to the space agency.
Details in an apology or a warning, whatever you want to call it, were sent to employees in a mass letter this month that spoke of "unauthorised people" and their newfound access to some personal information.
"Information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals," wrote Richard Keegan, a NASA associate deputy administrator.
"Because of the amount of information that must be reviewed and validated, it may take up to 60 days for all individuals impacted by this breach to be identified and contacted."
As a result NASA is offering its staff free credit monitoring, has sped up security updates and warned staff about taking unencrypted data offsite. µ