TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Vast Data Cache About Veterans Has Been Stolen

Re: Vast Data Cache About Veterans Has Been Stolen
23 May 2006 11:56:04 -0700

Monty Solomon wrote:

> WASHINGTON, May 22 - Personal electronic information on up to 26.5
> million military veterans, including their Social Security numbers and
> birth dates, was stolen from the residence of a Department of Veterans
> Affairs employee who had taken the data home without authorization,
> the agency said Monday.

> The department said that there was no evidence any of the information
> had been used illegally and that whoever stole it, in a burglary of
> the employee's home this month, might be unaware of its nature or how
> to use it. The stolen data do not include any health records or
> financial information, the agency said.

While this incident is a problem, I think they unnecessarily worried
people. It is important to emphasize that the thief did not steal the
_data_, but rather, stole the contents of someone's house. Such
thieves likely have no idea how to utilize data and usually just want
a quick sale of the hardware (TV set, jewelry), tossing away any
software. Of course, with the publicity, _now_ a thief knows he has
something extremely valuable.

> As measured by the number of people potentially affected, the data
> loss is exceeded only by a breach last June at CardSystems Solutions,
> a payment processor, in which the accounts of 40 million credit card
> holders were compromised in a hacking incident.

This is the thing that is much more frightening. In that, it was a
technically proficient hacker who was out to get the data and likely
knew what it was and how to make use of it.

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