The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is an agency in the US Department of Commerce, and it’s job, simply put, is to solve economic problems. Although, recent events suggest that the EDA isn’t great at economics and even worse at solving problems.
Back in December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security notified the EDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that their computers had potentially been infected by malware. Hmm, one organization is run by business types and the other run by scientists. I wonder which one reacted rationally?
According to Wired, the EDA “responded by cutting its systems off from the rest of the world — disabling its enterprise email system and leaving its regional offices no way of accessing centrally-held databases.”
The agency went on to hire a security contractor whom I can only assume they found in the “gigs” section of Craigslist. The contractor originally assured the EDA that their systems were good to go but wouldn’t provide a guarantee. So the EDA did what any government agency would do and paid him $823,000 for his services.
Unsurprisingly, after their near million dollar investment, malware was still detected on six of their systems and, less surprisingly, the EDA’s CIO completely lost his sh*t. Suspecting that the agency was under attack from an enemy nation-state, the agency turned to their last resort: going all Hulk Smash-y.
The CIO ordered the destruction of all their equipment. Everything was eliminated. PCs, printers, keyboards, cameras, and even the lowly mouse wasn’t spared. All in all, $170,500 worth of equipment was turned into trash.
The total cost of this colossal screw up was a whopping $2.7 million, and guess who’s stuck with the bill? That’s right, folks — get out your wallets.