Feeds

US service personnel at risk of ID theft

Half a million people's records sent unencrypted

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Personal details of over half a million US service personnel and their relatives may have been compromised by a Pentagon contractor.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a Fortune 500 tech-services provider, announced on Friday that:

"Personal information of certain uniformed service members, family members, and others was placed at risk for potential compromise while being processed by SAIC."

The risk of compromise was incurred because the relevant data was sent over the internet without use of any encryption. There is no special reason to believe that it was intercepted, but "the possibility cannot be ruled out".

SAIC said it was notifying 580,000 households, some with more than one person affected. Different information may have been compromised for different individuals, but the data included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and "limited" health information. The data was held under a health benefits programme for the uniformed services and their families.

SAIC expects to spend between $7m and $9m - approximately 0.1 per cent of its annual revenues - dealing with the consequences of the lapse, though this figure could be larger if widespread identity theft occurs. The firm has retained security giant Kroll to offer assistance to affected service people. This will include an Incident Response Centre and help for those who fall victim to identity theft as a result of the SAIC leak.

"We deeply regret this security failure and I want to extend our apologies to those affected by it," SAIC chairman and CEO Ken Dahlberg said. "The security failure is completely unacceptable and occurred as a result of clear violations of SAIC's strong internal IT security policies. In this instance, we did not live up to the high level of performance that our customers have learned to expect and demand from us. We let down our customers and the service members whom we support. For this, we are very sorry."

Interestingly, the Associated Press reports that SAIC first became aware of the leak after being notified by US Air Force personnel in Europe that they had detected sensitive information being transmitted in clear across the net.

The company says it has "placed a number of employees on administrative leave" pending the outcome of investigations. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.