TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: U.S.Citizens' Data Possibly Compromised

U.S.Citizens' Data Possibly Compromised

Monty Solomon (
Thu, 10 Mar 2005 07:28:22 -0500

By Ellen Simon, Associated Press Writer | March 9, 2005

NEW YORK --Using stolen passwords from legitimate customers, intruders
accessed personal information on as many as 32,000 U.S. citizens in a
database owned by the information broker LexisNexis, the company said.

The announcement Wednesday comes on the heels of a series of similar
high-profile breaches, the most serious affecting another large data
broker, ChoicePoint Inc. in which scores of identities were stolen.

The ChoicePoint case, as well as other data losses including one
affecting some 1.2 million federal employees with Bank of America charge
cards, have prompted an outcry for federal oversight of a loosely
regulated commercial sector. In the data-brokering business, sensitive
data about nearly every adult American is bought and sold.

The first in a series of Capitol Hill hearings are scheduled for

At LexisNexis, criminals found a way to compromise the logins and
passwords of a handful of legitimate customers to get access to the
database, said Kurt Sanford, the company's chief executive, told The
Associated Press.

The database that was breached, called Accurint, sells reports for $4.50
each that include an individual's Social Security number, past
addresses, date of birth and voter registration information, including
party affiliation.

No credit history, medical records or financial information were
accessed in the breach, LexisNexis parent company Reed Elsevier Group
PLC said in a statement.

The Accurint database is part of the Seisint unit, which LexisNexis
bought in August. Sanford said a team examining Seisint's data
security routines in February noticed abnormal usage patterns and
suspicious billing on some accounts.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Also see the article by Lisa Minter in
this issue of the Digest. PAT]

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