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Non-Encrypted Hall of Shame
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January 30, 2007 The News Gazette
Eastern Illinois University – A laptop containing names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses of up to 1,400 students was stolen. The laptop contained current students in Eastern's 23 fraternities and sororities. Why wasn't the data encrypted and why weren't student ID's used instead of SSN's?


January 29, 2007 – Salina Journal
Salina Regional Health Center - A laptop computer containing the names, social security numbers and medical history of up to 1,100 patients was stolen from the Salina Regional Health Center. A hospital spokesperson was quoted as saying “the patient information is double password protected”. Of course this is essentially a meaningless statement as most passwords can be easily defeated if the person has physical access to the computer. Hopefully they'll be installing full disk encryption on the replacement laptop.


January 24, 2007 – Forbes.com
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. – Turns out that the lockbox stolen from Concentra Preferred Systems (see Dec. 14 below) also contained tapes belonging to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. Those tapes included medical claim information, health data and Social Security numbers of 28,000 of their health insurance customers.


January 22, 2007 – Chicago Sun Times
City of Chicago – 1.3 million Chicago voters are at serious risk of identity theft. The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that there are over 100 CD's floating around the city that contain the names, birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers of 1.3 million registered voters. Each CD contains all 1.3 million data records so the chances of one of them falling in to the wrong hands is very high. The CDs were used to verify voter registration data on election day but there were almost no controls over the disks and apparently no one was asked to return them. Of course none of the information was encrypted. An additional 900,000 names with addresses were on the CD but those records did not contain Social Security numbers. Apparently the Social Security numbers were inadvertently included.


January 22, 2007 – The Oregonian
Xerox - A union representing Xerox Corp. workers in Wilsonville, Oregon said a laptop stolen from a locked vehicle at a human resource manager's home last fall contained an unencrypted file with social security numbers, pay figures and home addresses of 300 current and former employees. According to a union representative the laptop was stolen in late August but employees weren't informed until mid December. A union steward said that his social security number has been used without his approval to open eight cellphone accounts with three different carriers. Businesses always point out that the laptops are stolen for their resale value and that the thieves almost never access the data. But this is quickly changing. With a retail value of $500 just a few Social Security numbers can quickly be worth more than the laptop.


January 21, 2007 – NIST.org
Kansas City / Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Kansas City reported that they lost 26 IRS tapes containing taxpayer's sensitive information. The tapes could contain names, social security numbers, bank account numbers, addresses, and possibly full income tax information. Kansas City isn't sure what was on the tapes and the IRS has not yet said what the tapes contained. But the potential is there for millions of people to be affected. We will be following this one closely at the link above.


January 18, 2007 – TheState.com
KB Home – 2,700 customers of the home builder KB have had their personal information put at risk when a computer was stolen from KB's financing office. The computer contained the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of some of KB's customers. As usual a company spokesperson said that the computer was “password protected”, but there was no mention of data encryption.


January 16, 2007 Charlotte News Channel
North Carolina State Department of Revenue - A laptop computer with the taxpayer records, names, social security numbers and federal employee ID codes of more than 30,000 state residents was stolen. The laptop was stolen from a state employee's car. No indication that the data was encrypted.


January 10, 2007 Enterprise Planet
Towers Perrin – pension and 401K management giant and benefit consultant for several companies had five laptops stolen last month. The laptops contained personal information about current and former employees of their clients (including JPMorgan Chase and Bank One). The number of employees affected is not known at this time. In the obligatory statement a company official stated “all company laptops are password-protected”. No mention of data encryption.


January 3, 2007 The Western Star
Emory Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital - Emory University is notifying 38,000 cancer patients that their personal information was on a computer stolen from an Ohio based contractor. The information included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, medical data and treatment information. The computer was stolen from Electronic Registry Systems, a company that provides cancer registry data processing services. A company spokesperson was quoted as saying that the data was “double password-protected” (and we triple dog dare you to try whole disk encryption next time).



article index
page 1 : March 2007 to Present
page 2 : February 2007
page 3 - current : January 2007
page 4 : December 2006
page 5 : November 2006
page 6 : October 2006
page 7 : September 2006
page 8 : August 2006
page 9 : July 2006
page 10 : Prior to July 2006
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