Feeds

Ernst & Young fails to disclose high-profile data loss

Sun CEO's social security number exposed

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Exclusive Ernst and Young should go ahead and pony up for its own suite of transparency services. The accounting firm failed to disclose a high profile loss of customer data until being confronted by The Register.

Ernst and Young has lost a laptop containing data such as the social security numbers of its customers. One of the people affected by the data loss appears to be Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, who was notified that his social security number and personal information have been compromised. While pushing all out transparency for its customers, Ernst and Young failed to cop to the security breach until contacted by us.

"We deeply regret that a laptop containing confidential client information was stolen, in what appears to be a random act, from the locked car of one of our employees," said Ernst and Young spokesman Charles Perkins. "The security and confidentiality of our client information is of critical importance to us. The computer was password-protected, and we have no reason to believe the data itself was targeted or that the information was accessed by anyone. We are notifying those clients whose information was contained on the computer."

Ernst and Young declined to comment on whether or not McNealy was affected.

However, at lat week's RSA security conference, McNealy noted that he received an e-mail from an "anonymous partner" detailing a loss of his private data. "We determined that your name and social security number were among the data (lost)," the partner wrote to McNealy.

"This is an organization that we spend an enormous amount of money on to determine whether we are Sarbanes-Oxley compliant," McNealy said.

Digging through Sun's financial filings, you'll discover that Ernst and Young serves as the company's auditor and handles Sarbanes-Oxley consulting for Sun. A spokesman at Sun confirmed that Ernst and Young is still the company's auditor but declined to out the firm that lost McNealy's data.

It's difficult to determine how massive the Ernst and Young data loss was in this case. Although, today we learned that a Deloitte and Touche CD containing information on McAfee employees was left in an airline seat pocket, exposing the social security numbers of close to 9,000 workers. Certainly, a laptop loss could be as damaging.

Ernst and Young declined to return our phone calls seeking more information about the breach and why it has "no reason to believe" the password could be cracked. It makes no mention of stronger security than simple password protection. The company only sent along the earlier statement.

Ernst and Young has littered its web site with transparency advice for customers. The company, however, failed to make a public notification of the data loss.

Such secrecy seems quite rich given the current climate surrounding security and the protection of customer data. One might ask how a company such as Ernst and Young can judge the transparency of Sun or other customers.

Then again, the accounting firm could just stick with the "You have no privacy. Get over it" line. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.