VA Hires ISS in Data Theft Investigation

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs turns to Internet Security Systems to help determine exactly what data was lost in a laptop theft.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs told eWEEK June 19 that the agency has hired Internet Security Systems, of Atlanta, to help determine exactly what information was lost in a massive data theft in May.

"ISS has been hired by VA to analyze the nature of the data the employee had been working with prior to the theft of the computer and external hard drive from his home," said VA spokesperson Matthew Burns, in Washington.

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The move to hire ISS had been announced earlier when Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson told the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee that the VA was already in discussions with ISS to help it figure out what was missing.

The theft of the VA laptop was discovered in early May when the employee who had taken the computer and an external hard drive to his home told his supervisor and local police that his home had been broken into and the equipment taken.

The computer and its hard drive contained personal information of millions of current and former service members. Secretary Nicholson wasnt notified until three weeks after the theft.

/zimages/4/28571.gifThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announces new security measures. Click here to read more.

Since that time, the VA employee and several levels of his management have been fired by the agency.

Although eWEEK has contacted ISS for comments on what it expects to find when it analyzes the VA information, the company has not provided any additional information, or even a confirmation that it has been hired by the VA.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...