By Bob Negele
AT&T has notified an undisclosed number of workers in management-level positions that their personal data was stored on an unencrypted laptop that was stolen on May 15, 2008. SC Magazine reported that the laptop was stolen from the car of an employee and included the names and Social Security numbers of workers and in some cases also their salary and bonus information. The fact that the laptop was not encrypted was a violation of company policy and the employee who was in possession of the laptop when it was stolen has been disciplined. The company began notifying potential identity theft victims of the theft via e-mail and postal mail on May 23 and will offer all workers affected by the data breach free credit monitoring services.
WFLX News reported that a large amount of files containing sensitive personal information including tax information, Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers were recently found inside a garbage dumpster in Boca Raton, Florida. The old files were apparently dumped in the trash after Wheeler's Moving Company moved out of a Boca Raton office and left the files behind. The company told WFLX News that they had no idea how the files ended up in the dumpster because they had moved the office approximately a year ago. After the files were discovered, police were notified and were able to remove the majority of the files from the dumpster. Some remnants of the files remain in the garbage, but officials say that they are doing everything possible to protect the people whose information is still in the dumpster from identity theft. All of the files that have been retrieved will be properly shredded.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the world's largest custodian of assets, has announced that it will provide enhanced identity fraud protection services to customers whose sensitive personal data may have been breached in a recent data loss. A backup data-storage tape that contained images of scanned checks and other payment documents was lost on April 29 while it was being transported from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The sensitive data of 47 institutional clients, possibly including information involving bankruptcy cases, and an undetermined number of consumer customers were affected in the data loss and potential data breach. The data tape was being transported by a commercial carrier via ground transportation when it was lost. This is the second recent data loss by the company. On February 27, 2008, a box holding backup tapes that contained the sensitive personal data of more than 4 million customers was lost while being transported by a truck that routinely transports and stores data tapes in a storage facility.
The Stanford News Service reported that a Stanford University laptop which was recently stolen contained sensitive and confidential personnel data. The university is notifying those affected by the data breach via e-mail and postal mail and has posted information regarding the data breach on its website at http://www.stanford.edu. The personal data of as many as 60,000 current and former employees of Stanford University could now be at risk for identity theft.
East Tennessee State University has reportedly begun notifying 6,200 people by mail that they could be at risk for identity theft due to the theft of a desktop computer, according to a report by the Johnson City Press. The computer that was stolen from the university was password protected and the university believes that this will prevent the sensitive information from being easily accessed, despite the fact that password protection is easily breached by identity thieves with even a basic amount of technical computer knowledge. The university does admit, although they say the risk is slight, that the personal data could be compromised.