Wednesday, 15 June 2016 06:43

US Air Force loses 12 years of IG data with no backup

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It seems that the US Air Force has taken a pretty big hit when it comes to the storage of the data related to internal investigations. The system that they have been using has had a glitch that resulted in the loss of around 12 years of data. Normally this would only be a big deal until the backup was restored, but… there was no back up of this data as a complete set. There might be subsets of this data in other systems scattered throughout the US Air Force systems, but even that is not for sure.

To back things up a bit, and give a little more background, the Air Force has been using an Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS) for all of their Inspector General (IG) and other internal investigations. This system has been maintained by Lockheed Martin and covers everything from fraud, abuse, accidents, office disputes, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. Unfortunately, something happened to the system and now as many as 100,000 case records are no longer accessible. The missing/corrupted records go back as far as 2004.

Lockheed Martin has been attempting to recover the system and access the data, but has had no success in doing this. There is also no official backup of the database so it cannot be restored easily. The cause of the corruption is also unknown which has led some to speculate about an intentional disruption. The ACTS also covers Freedom of Information Act requests so we are sure the conspiracy theory crowd will be out in force soon.

As things stand now the Air Force has sent out a call for help to external contractors, the Pentagon’s Cyber Security team and others in an attempt to get the data back and also identify the root of the corruption. This incident is probably going to be a lesson for the Air Force as well as many other people when it comes to keeping backups of important data. On the other hand, it is a fairly good example of the concerns some have when we hear about the government collecting and maintaining data on us citizens…

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