Saturday, June 24, 2006


ID Theft Aided By Incompetent Government

Here’s a two-fer, on the same topic: data theft.

From government, mostly, sites.

Let’s see: FEMA is good at employing political cronies, wasting money, and not getting anything done; Homeland Security is good at hyping publicity, employing pedophiles, and not getting anything done. And, of course, the Department of Justice (sic) is good at claiming states’ secrets—and hyping publicity.

And above and beyond all that, the government is virtually giving away sensitive personal data. Personal information from the VA got leaked; information on workers for the government up at Hanford got leaked; and now this, 28,000 sailors and their family members were exposed to data theft.

Even setting aside the stupid criminal war on Islam, and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the current US government is utterly incompetent.

Yahoo! News
Government hit by rash of data breaches

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 53 minutes ago

The government agency charged with fighting identity theft said Thursday it had lost two government laptops containing sensitive personal data, the latest in a series of breaches encompassing millions of people.

The Federal Trade Commission said it would provide free credit monitoring for 110 people targeted for investigation whose names, addresses, Social Security numbers — and in some instances, financial account numbers — were taken from an FTC attorney's locked car.

The car theft occurred about 10 days ago and managers were immediately notified. Many of the people whose data were compromised were being investigated for possible fraud and identity theft, said Joel Winston, associate director of the FTC's Division of Privacy and Identity Theft Protection.

"Basically these were attorneys who were going to file a lawsuit, and they had relevant evidence on their laptops," Winston said, noting that the FTC employees did not violate security procedures by storing the password-protected laptops in their cars.

"We will be reassessing what procedures we have to make sure reasonable measures are taken to protect data," he said.

The disclosure comes amid a widening data breach that is expected to cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars. In all, five government agencies have reported data theft, including the Veterans Affairs Department, which on May 22 acknowledged losing data on up to 26.5 million veterans.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Sensitive Navy info on 28,000 turns up on insecure Web site
By Josh White
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Navy officials discovered personal data for nearly 28,000 sailors and family members was compromised when it appeared on a public Web site this week, fueling more concerns about the security of sensitive information on federal employees.

Five spreadsheet files of data — including names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of sailors and their relatives — were found exposed on a Web site Thursday night during routine internal sweeps of the Internet for sensitive material, said Lt. Justin Cole, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel. He said the material was removed from the site within two hours.

"It was information you don't want on a public Web site," Cole said. "But there was no indication it was being used for illegal purposes."

The potential security breach is one of several such losses of important personal data reported in Washington in recent weeks, part of an unusual string of thefts and Internet breaches that has compromised information belonging to millions of federal workers. Four other federal agencies have reported similar problems since early May.

The largest breach came May 9, when a Veterans Affairs laptop and external hard drive were stolen from a Maryland home, a theft that officials said included the personal information of up to 26.5 million veterans and active-duty military personnel. There was no indication the theft was targeting that information.

This week, the Agriculture Department reported that up to 26,000 employees had their data compromised by a hacker. A laptop containing data for 13,000 DC workers and retirees was stolen last week. The Energy Department reported this month that similar data for 1,500 employees might have been accessed by a hacker in September, and IRS officials said a laptop containing names, Social Security numbers and fingerprints of 291 employees and applications was misplaced in May.

In the Navy case, officials are unsure how the information ended up on an insecure Web site, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into whether the person who posted it was supposed to have access to the data. Cole said it was possible the information was posted inadvertently.

Sailors can contact the Navy Personnel Command call center to determine if their names were on the compromised list: 866-827-5672

Navy Personnel Command's Web site:

The Navy plans to contact the individuals affected and urge them to closely monitor their bank and credit-card accounts for fraudulent activity. Congress is considering a measure that would pay for credit monitoring for those affected by the VA data loss last month.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on Friday called for the Defense Department to provide immediate free credit monitoring for sailors who may have been affected by the Internet posting.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Markey said the incident "raises serious questions about the nature and adequacy of privacy protections afforded to active-duty military personnel, their families and military veterans."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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