Disk Encryption: Laptops Stolen From DC Polling Locations.

According to wusa9.com, a break-in in Southeast D.C. has resulted in the theft of laptops and other items.  While the use of laptop encryption software was not disclosed, a Board of Elections official noted that voter information was not compromised.

Elementary School = Low Physical Security

Three laptop computers were stolen when the voting site – really an elementary school – was broken into.  In addition, refreshments for volunteers were stolen as well.  Conspiracy theories not withstanding, it looks like it was just your average break-in: you have high-value items, low security, and, apparently, zero monitoring: it seems that nobody knew anything was amiss until volunteers arrived around in the wee hours of the morning.

As mentioned above, an election official was quoted as saying that voter information was not compromised.  How does he know?  Because “the laptops have to be connected to the BOE network for anyone to gain access to that information.”

If I may put on my tin-foil hat, however, it should be noted that the wording here was very specific to voter information.  It sounds like things were set up so that voter info resided on secure servers, and the laptop was merely acting as a “thin-client.”  That is, a device for remotely accessing the data.  Assuming the correct app was available, the same could have been accomplished with an iPad.  However, laptops being what they are, one has to wonder if there was any sensitive information stored on any of the stolen devices.

Not voter information per se, but other information.  Had disk encryption been used, these refreshment and computer stealing thieves would be stopped from digitally poking around in the laptops.  So, was encryption used?  Was it necessary?  If yes, one only hopes that encryption was used.

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