TSA Loses Hard Drive With Personal Information
May 5, 2007 11:43 AM
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The Transportation Security Agency is the latest government agency to lose or have data stolen
An external computer hard drive containing the personal, bank and payroll information of up to 100,000 former and current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees was reportedly stolen from a human resources office in Crystal City, VA. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Secret Service are now helping the TSA investigate the theft -- FBI is conducting the investigation, with the Secret Service conducting a "forensic review of equipment and facilities."
The TSA learned about the missing hard drive sometime Thursday, but the agency informed possibly affected employees Friday evening -- a delay which has
upset some employees
. TSA spokesperson Ellen Howe reassured agency employees by stating the TSA was "not trying to stall."
"TSA has no evidence that an unauthorized individual is using your personal information, but we bring this incident to your attention so that you can be alert to signs of any possible misuse of your identity," said Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator.
The TSA is unaware if the hard drive has left its premises. The hard drive contained sensitive information on employees who worked for the TSA from January 2002 until August 2005. The agency employs almost 50,000 people and is the agency responsible for securing transportation systems in the country, including airports and railroads.
Letters were sent out to all affected employees promising one year of credit monitoring services.
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5/6/2007 11:36:38 PM
All of you advocating better information security procedures are forgetting the single greatest factor to be considered: social engineering.
You can encrypt the data, lock it down with a hundred passwords, do whatever you want to make it impossible to read... but you CANNOT force every single employee to use a good password. You're lucky if you can get 10% of your employees to use strong passwords. The other 90% will continue to use their last name spelled backwards, or their son's birthdate, or a word in the top hundred of any decent dictionary attack.
And suddenly all of that encryption and account security isn't worth a damn, because the bad guy has the key to the front door and the code to the alarm.
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