VA: Veterans Personal Data Swiped

By Larry Dignan  |  Posted 2006-05-22 Print this article Print

The VA says data with information on more than 26.5 million veterans is stolen.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said the personal information of up to 26.5 million veterans was swiped from an employees home. According to the VA, an employee took home electronic data containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for millions of veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. The data didnt include any of the VAs electronic health records and financial records. The announcement, posted May 22 on the VAs home page, indicated that the data was stolen when an employees home was burglarized.
The employee, who has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation, improperly took home the electronic data in violation of the departments policies, said the VA. The VA said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and VA Inspector Generals office have launched investigations. "Authorities believe it is unlikely the perpetrators targeted the items because of any knowledge of the data contents," said the VA. Read more here about the Armys pay misstep. "It is possible that they remain unaware of the information which they possess or of how to make use of it. However, out of an abundance of caution, the VA is taking all possible steps to protect and inform our veterans." To listen to the UpFront podcast on data theft, click here. In the meantime, the VA said it will send notification letters to affected veterans and create a task force to coordinate a federal response. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Business Editor
Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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