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Non-Encrypted Hall of Shame
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in General IT Security > Non-Encrypted Hall of Shame

August 31, 2006 – ComputerWorld
Wells Fargo & Co – In the 5th such incident in less than 3 years a computer was stolen with the personal information entrusted to Wells Fargo. In this most recent incident a computer was stolen from a car belonging to an audit company's employee. Data on the computer included names, Social Security numbers and in some cases information relating to prescription drug and health insurance claims made by Wells Fargo employees in 2005. Wells Fargo stated that the audit company working for them did not adhere to their data handling policies. Apparently the data was not encrypted.

August 30, 2006 – Federal Computer Week
DTI Associates – A contractor for the U.S. Department of Education had 2 laptop computes stolen from their Arlington, VA office. The two laptops contained the names and Social Security numbers of 43 reviewers who were assessing grant applications for Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund. No indication that the information was encrypted.

August 30, 2006 – Consumer Affairs
Compass Health - Washington state mental health care provider, Compass Health, had a laptop stolen on June 28th. The laptop included patient Social Security numbers, "along with other clinical and demographic information." Compass Health did not specify if the laptop was encrypted or password-protected, it claimed that "the data could only be accessed by a skilled technician." Like that 16 year old computer store sales person. If its not encrypted properly the data is not going to be that hard to access.

August 26, 2006 – Baltimore Sun
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – DOT – Another Department of Transportation (DOT) laptop was stolen from a Federal vehicle The laptop may have contained the names, dates of birth and commercial driver's license numbers of 193 people from 40 motor carrier companies. The agency urges drivers to contact their employers for more information, or call the agency's hot line: 1-800-832-5660. Apparently the data was not encrypted.

August 25, 2006 – The Boston Globe
Sovereign Bank – The Philadelphia based Sovereign Bank has warned thousands of customers that their personal data may have been stolen along with three managers' laptops taken earlier this month in Massachusetts. Bank officials "strongly believe" the personal files were deleted before the thefts. But if the data was not securely written over, or preferably encrypted to begin with, then it is still accessible.

August 23, 2006 – ComputerWorld
Beaumont Hospitals – A laptop containing patient names, addresses, birth dates, medical insurance information, Social Security numbers and personal health information of 28,000 home care patients stolen in Detroit. The data was encrypted but the nurse's ID access code and password were with the stolen computer. The hospital stated that the nurse was a new employee still completing orientation. But if that was the case what was this person doing with this much personal data on 28,000 patients? Encryption is useless if you leave the encryption key exposed (or the password to it exposed).

August 18, 2006 – Consumer Affairs
Chevron - told thousands of employees this week that a laptop containing names, Social Security numbers, and "other sensitive information" had been stolen from an accounting firm that was conducting an audit of Chevron's employee health and savings plans. Yet again the data was not encrypted but was password protected. Also proving that these companies either aren't hiring security people or aren't listening to them. Windows passwords are almost useless if you have physical access to a computer (which obviously the thieves do).

August 15, 2006 – HeraldToday
U.S. Dept. of Transportation – US DOT loses another laptop. This is the second such lose for the DOT in the past month, both occurring out of the Florida Office of Inspector General (OIG) office. Originally the laptop was believed not to contain sensitive information. However after further investigation the computer was determined to contain “several case files which are not encrypted due to computer conversions at work.” Though this second laptop apparently does not have the large amount of sensitive information as the first one this latest incident could still prove to be very troublesome. . At this point the office has not fully determined what was on the computer. Other government offices have found that nearly every laptop that is used by a manager contains some sensitive information. This would be especially true for someone working at an OIG. But this wasn't just any employee, the laptop was lost by Barbara Barnet, Special Agent in Charge of the DOT's inspector general field office in Miami. If Ms Barnet even used office eMail on this laptop it is likely to contain sensitive information.

August 15, 2006 – MarketWatch
Williams-Sonoma Inc. and Deloitte & Touche - Williams-Sonoma Inc., a specialty retailer of home furnishings said on Tuesday that 1,200 employees personal information was lost in July after a Deloitte & Touche worker conducting an annual audit had their laptop lost or stolen. Information included names, payroll data, social security numbers, and other financial information. No sign that the data was encrypted.

August 11, 2006 – The Tennessean
HCA Inc. – had 10 computers stolen with at one of the hospital chain's regional offices. The computers contained patient names, Social Security numbers, and Medicare and Medicaid billing information. Though HCA is mum on the issue they also most likely contained what the patient was treated for since it is a necessary part of the claims process. HCA stated that the computers were most likely stolen to be sold, not for the data they contained. But that is an old argument that just doesn't mea anything. Once thieves have the computers they may very well search them for information that can be sold, it is all to common. Even if they are not computer literate this subject is constantly on the news where they mention how much the data is worth. And if the thieves don't sell the data the buyers of the computers might. Since they're not bragging about it apparently the data was not encrypted.

August 10, 2006 – ComputerWorld
U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Another Federal Government laptop was stolen that contains the personal information of the civilian public. In this incident a laptop computer with the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers of about 133,000 Florida residents was stolen from a DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) government vehicle. The laptop was stolen on July 27th 2006. The date in this case is very important. Why? Because federal government offices had until August 8th to meet OMB requirements to encrypt this type data on all laptops. Any guess as to what offices are responsible for auditing compliance? OIG offices. My guess is the DOT OIG still is not encrypting their data. So, who's auditing the auditors? OMB are you watching? Oh, the data was “password protected” but not encrypted. ((Update: The data was normally encrypted but not at the time of the theft. Bad luck and even worse procedures. See GovExec. DOT Press Release, Letter to Congress, and Letter to Fl Governor Jeb Bush ))

August 7, 2006 – Information Week
Veterans Affairs – Yes, again. A computer containing personal information on thousands of veterans has turned up missing. This time the computer was stolen from a subcontractor, Unisys Corp, who was working with the data to assist the VA with insurance collections. The computer contained names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, insurance carriers, billing information, dates of military service, and claims data that may have included some medical information on at least 5,000 veterans (and possibly up to 25,000). According to the VA the data was password protected but not encrypted. Of course password protected is meaningless, without encryption the data is vulnerable.

August 5, 2006 – Denver Business Journal
Matrix Bancorp Inc. – Two laptops were stolen from the bank's downtown branch on July 28, one of which contained personal account information on an undisclosed number of customers. *** STOP THE PRESSES *** The data, the bank said, is fully encrypted and password-protected, and there's no evidence that any confidential information has been compromised or used illicitly. {Entry being made to the Encrypted Hall of Fame}

August 4, 2006 – San Antonio Express News
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas – A laptop stolen from a new truck plant in Texas could contain the names and Social Security numbers of as many as 1,500 current and prospective Toyota employees. The laptop was stolen July 27 from ProgressiveHealth Rehabilitation. The company does physical assessment of employees in Texas, Alabama and Indiana. No indication that the data was encrypted.

August 4, 2006 – BusinessWire
PSA HealthCare – A laptop containing personal information of approximately 51,000 current and former patients was stolen from an employee's vehicle. The information included names, social security numbers and, some personal health information. The laptop computer was password protected but apparently the data was not encrypted.

August 2, 2006 – Poughkeepsie Journal
Vassar Brothers Medical Center – A laptop computer was taken from the hospitals emergency department in late June. It contained personally identifying information such as Social Security
numbers and dates of birth for 257,800 patients that had been treated there since 2000. The data apparently wasn't encrypted.

August 2, 2006 - Charleston Daily Mail
West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Service - A laptop computers containing client personal information was been stolen on July 24th, 2006. The information includes clients' names, addresses, Social Security numbers and telephone numbers. The laptop was password protected but apparently the data was not encrypted. As mentioned here many times the Windows login password is not sufficient to protect sensitive information. There are many free tools and step by step instructions on the Internet to bypass the Windows password in under 5 minutes.

August 2, 2006 – KGO-TV San Francisco
Kaiser Permanente – A laptop with the home addresses and medical record number of 160,000 Northern California Kaiser Permanente members was stolen in June. No Social Security numbers were involved. Apparently actual medical treatment information was not stored on the laptop but the location and department where treatment was received was on the laptop (which is possibly sensitive). The data was not encrypted.

August 1, 2006 –
California Polytechnic State University - Cal Poly notified 3,020 current and former students that their names and Social Security numbers were on a laptop computer stolen in July from a physics professor's San Luis Obispo home. Apparently this information was not encrypted.

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