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VA Loses another Hard Drive with data on 48,000 veterans
From: "Saqib Ali" <docbook.xml () gmail com>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2007 11:14:09 -0800


Associated Press is reporting that a portable hard drive belonging to
Veteran's Administration has been stolen. The Official Press Release
is available at the VA website.

FBI is investigating the incident to measure the extent of impact.
VA's Office of Information and Technology is also conducting a
separate review. The hard drive contained data on 48,000 veterans,
more than half of which were encrypted. So it is expected that no more
than 20,000 were leaked. The drive was used to back up information on
the employee's office computer. It may have contained data from
research projects, the department said.

From VA's website:
On January 23, VA's IG was notified the external hard drive was
missing. The OIG opened a criminal investigation, sent special agents
to the medical center, and notified the FBI. VA's Office of
Information & Technology in Washington, D.C. also dispatched an
incident response team to investigate. The OIG has seized the
employee's work computer and is in the process of analyzing its
contents. VA IT staff is providing technical support in this effort.
Analyzing the work computer may help investigators determine the
nature of the information the hard drive potentially contained.
Pending results of the investigation, VA is prepared to send
individual notifications and provide one year of free credit
monitoring to those whose information proves compromised.

This is the second major data loss VA experienced in within 1 year
time frame. Last year, on the May 22, 2006 VA reported losing a laptop
with about data on 26.5 million veterans. See Chronology of Data
Breaches at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for more information. US
Government's plan to Fully Encrypt all laptops is aimed towards
minimizing the impact of theft of laptops or portable storage devices.

AP News Article:
VA Press Release: http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1287

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