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UMaine loses 600+ student records, SSNs, etc

2015 February 18
by Todd Plesco

A physics professor at University of Maine was the victim of theft on February 10th.  His laptop was stolen from his checked baggage for a flight from Seattle to Boston.  Unfortunately, while the laptop was “password protected”, the sensitive data was actually on a removable media card which was not encrypted.  UMaine Logo

UMaine’s spokesperson Margaret Nagle has emphasized that university employees are individually responsible for ensuring proper handling and storage of sensitive data whom receive annually required training sessions.  Though, the university does not have explicit data-security policies which require encryption nor purging of sensitive data after it is no longer needed.

Only three years ago, UMaine suffered the loss of 1,175 student social security numbers when the local campus computer store was breached by hackers in 2012.

UMaine plans to notify the affected students and offer them a year of identity theft monitoring protection.

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Utah State University exposes 347 SSNs

2015 February 6
by Todd Plesco

Friday, February 6th, Utah State University (USU) revealed that some 1,033 student veterans received an email message on Thursday, February 5th, which contained 347 names and Social Security numbers (SSNs.)  USU has notified the affected persons that they should monitor their financial accounts.  Additionally, USU is offering a year of enrollment in a credit-monitoring program to the victims.



88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary

2015 February 6
by Todd Plesco

From 9/11 to December 7, 2001, CIA operatives and US Special Forces operated in tandem and joint effort with Afghan warlords to drive the Taliban from Kandahar. Then, Islamabad’s CIA Station Chief Robert L Grenier drafted the war plan for the US invasion of Afghanistan.

The book covers Grenier’s experience during the CIA led war which drove out al Qaida from Kandahar in 88 days with great detail. First by introducing the long list of US, Pakistan, Afghan persons and his situation of having just come from a 3 year tour as chief of “The Farm.” Intelligence regarding the smoking gun from Jalalabad leads to a field appraisal to ultimately the framework which gets things set in motion.

88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary (Hardcover)

By (author): Robert L. Grenier

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Release date January 27, 2015.

“…droned on with his usual precise diction, in a deep, sonorous voice. He was at his articulate but tiresomely pedantic best” serves as an example of how Grenier’s action packed story is captivating as he describes not only the illuminating conversations and gritty actions but gives the emotional picture of how people sounded and behaved.

While the book is an excellent account of the actions against the Taliban, it provides an outstanding picture of the ignorant manipulations and intra-agency rivalries by Pentagon bureaucrats and the Administration.

The book also covers little discussed events such as a close call with nuclear war in May 2002 between Pakistan and India; the ones that got away – the al Qaida fighters who escaped the day Kandahar fell; and, the inflated covert operational readiness claims right after 9/11 by senior British officials.

This book is a must read not only for the great stories and accounts but also to gain a better grasp of the geo-political challenges faced by the United States in SouthWest and Central Asia.