Feeds

Ohio data leak was 'accident waiting to happen'

Warning unheeded as thousands of records exposed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A stolen backup tape containing personal data on Ohio state workers also contained the names and Social Security numbers of around 225,000 state residents.

A mounting privacy brouhaha is building over the purloined tape, stolen on 10 June from the back of an unlocked intern's car. At first it seemed that the data contained on the tape only referred to 64,000 state workers and Ohio's 84,000 welfare recipients. Subsequent checks have revealed that data on taxpayers who are yet to cash state income tax refund cheques was also on the tape, greatly increasing the number of people potentially exposed to identity fraud.

State officials point out that reading the data on the tape would require specialist hardware and expertise. Even though there's no indication that any of the stolen data has been misused, 20,000 state workers have signed up to an identity-theft protection scheme, at a cost to the Ohio taxpayers of $700,000. State officials plan to extend this protection to other groups found to have been exposed to fraud.

Snafu

The tape was nicked after a 22-year-old intern was asked to take it home as part of "standard security procedure". Gov. Ted Strickland has since stepped in to curtail the practice of workers taking backup devices home for safekeeping. He also announced a review of how state data is handled.

Questions are been asked about why the policy wasn't tightened up earlier after it emerged that the governor's transitional team warned that the state's computer security policies were lax before he took office in January.

A team of IT consultants concluded the state had "little to no policy guidance or standards" for protecting sensitive data, according to a report prepared by Strickland's transition team, unearthed by the Columbus Dispatch.

"Ohio's lack of a robust, unified privacy/security capacity lays it open to the type of data spills and breaches that have been plaguing the government and the corporate sectors in increasing numbers over the past few years," the report said, as reported by AP. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.