Feeds

US veterans' data exposed after burglary

Old soliders' data never dies - it just gets taken away

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A PC containing the personal details of as many as 26.5m US veterans has been stolen from the home of a worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), sparking a major security alert.

A thief broke into the data analyst's home earlier this month and stole the computer during the course of a burglary. The laptop shouldn't have been there in the first place because it's against VA policy to take these files home. The unnamed worker involved has been placed on administrative leave pending an inquiry. Meanwhile, FBI and local law enforcement officials are investigating the security breach.

Compromised information includes the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of millions of former US servicemen and women. In some cases, home addresses, disability ratings, and information on veterans' partners was also exposed as a result of the apparently random burglary. There is no indication as yet that the data has been used in identity theft scans, but VA officials still issued an alert as a precaution.

"What happened is absolutely unacceptable, but the task at hand is to inform every veteran family so that they can begin taking steps to safeguard their personal information," Veterans of Foreign Wars commander-in-chief Jim Muelle said. He added that workers and officials who may have been at fault for the breach would be held accountable for their actions.

The 26.5m names potential involved represent every military veteran discharged since 1975, and possibly earlier if the individual filed a VA claim. The VA said there is no indication that anyone's medical or financial records were compromised, but the VA decided to go public with the breach anyway in an endeavour to warn veterans of the incident.

The VA will send out individual notification letters to veterans. Vets can also go to firstgov.gov for more informationh. The VA has also set up a toll-free hotline to answer queries from individual vets and to provide advice on consumer identity protection. This call centre can be reached on 1-800-FED INFO (333-4636). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.