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Yet Another VA Computer Missing

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Personal information on 38,000 vets were stored on a computer stolen from a Veterans Affairs Department subcontractor.

Reader, John writes:

Veterans Affairs – Yes, again. A computer containing personal information on thousands of veterans has turned up missing. This time the computer was stolen from a subcontractor, Unisys Corp, who was working with the data to assist the VA with insurance collections. The computer contained names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, insurance carriers, billing information, dates of military service, and claims data that may have included some medical information on at least 5,000 veterans (and possibly up to 25,000). According to the VA the data was password protected but not encrypted. Of course password protected is meaningless, without encryption the data is vulnerable.

Other sources: Mercury News (Thanks John for the news tip!)

Written by MCruz on August 8th, 2006 with no comments.
Read more articles on Government and Identity Theft and Veterans.

Free Credit Monitoring Offer for Veterans Revoked

Since the infamous laptop containing personal information of 26.5 million veterans was returned, the Bush administration has withdrawn its offer of free credit monitoring to veterans.

Rob Portman, the White House budget director, wrote House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) yesterday withdrawing the administration’s request for $160.5 million to pay for a year of free credit monitoring and citing the June 28 recovery of the stolen laptop and external hard drive by police. The FBI said it had a “high degree of confidence” that thieves had not accessed the files containing the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of millions of veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Notice that the FBI didn’t say they were 100% sure. In any case, this “saves” the government millions of dollars. Let’s see where they’ll allocate those savings.

Source: Washington Post

Written by MCruz on July 19th, 2006 with no comments.
Read more articles on Commentary and Government and Identity Theft and Veterans.

Stolen VA Laptop Found

Interesting turn of events.  The stolen laptop with personal data of over 26 million veterans was just recovered.  There is no indication of how it was found.

A missing laptop and hard disk containing personal data on over 26.5 million veterans has been recovered, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson announced this morning.

“The investigation continues to see whether or not this information has been compromised in any way,” or whether copies of the data have been made, Nicholson said just before a scheduled hearing before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He later said that initial FBI forensics tests indicate the data on the laptop and disk has not been improperly accessed.

Nicholson said he was informed that the missing laptop and disk had been found just before the hearing was to start.

Source: Computerworld

Written by MCruz on June 29th, 2006 with no comments.
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Stolen VA Data Affects National Security

The Washington Post reports that 80% of active duty personnel data were included in the computer stolen from the home of a VA employee. This not only raises concerns about identity theft but also the safety of the families of those currently serving.

The department announced that personal data for as many as 1.1 million active-duty military personnel, 430,000 National Guard members and 645,000 reserve members may have been included on an electronic file stolen May 3 from a department employee’s house in Aspen Hill. The data include names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, VA spokesman Matt Burns said.

Another worry is that the information could reach foreign governments and their intelligence services or other hostile forces, allowing them to target service members and their families, the experts said.

Source: Washington Post (Thanks to Viv for the tip!)

Written by MCruz on June 7th, 2006 with 1 comment.
Read more articles on Government and Identity Theft and Veterans.

Millions of Veterans Data Exposed to Identity Theft

The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that a computer containing personal, identifying data for over 26 million American veterans was stolen from a VA employee’s home this month. They have set up a site to help those affected by this data breach. The compromised data included names, social security numbers and the dates of birth. This is enough information for unscrupulous individuals to use for identity theft.

A VA employee took files home as part of department work on a data collation project to simplify some VA processes. Subsequently, someone broke into the employee’s home and stole the data. The career employee, a data analyst, was not authorized to take the files home, said VA secretary Jim Nicholson in a teleconference with reporters.

Update: There are currently two companies who are providing discounted identity theft protection for veterans, LifeLock and MyPublicInfo.

Source: Government Computer News

Written by MCruz on May 22nd, 2006 with no comments.
Read more articles on Employees and Government and Identity Theft and Veterans.

Personal Data lost for 17,000 LIRR workers

Backup tapes containing sensitive data were stolen out of a delivery van early this month.

A Boston-based company that stores records for the Long Island Railroad lost personal data including Social Security numbers for about 17,000 of the transit agency’s current and former employees, apparently while the information was being delivered by a driver in New York.

New York police on Thursday said the loss also involved data tapes belonging to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the loss was reported by the driver while his van was parked outside a VA hospital in the Bronx.

Source: MSN

Written by MCruz on April 27th, 2006 with no comments.
Read more articles on Employees and Identity Theft and Veterans.