Hard Drive With Employee Data Missing
Data Security Breach.
It's what we in the journalistic trade call a "standing head" -- so
commonplace, that few are surprised when another occurrence takes
But here we go again, this time involving the Transportation
Security Administration, and the bank records and other
personal data of roughly 100,000 employees... including airport
screeners and federal air marshals, according to the Washington
Times. The FBI is investigating.
"This is considered serious," a Homeland Security official said
on the condition of anonymity. "We've turned this place upside-down
today to find the missing laptop."
Laptop? The agency may not have been certain in the beginning of
this episode of exactly where the data resided. The TSA released a
statement referring to the missing item as an external hard drive,
not a laptop.
The statement went on to say that on Thursday, officials became
aware it (the hard drive) was missing from a controlled security
area at the headquarters of its Office of Human Capital.
The files on the hard drive include (if you have worked or work
for the TSA, cringe here) the archived records of employees, along
with their Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial
allotments, and payroll information.
The TSA said it "immediately reported the incident to senior
Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement officials and
launched an investigation."
"TSA is treating this
incident as a criminal matter and has asked the FBI to investigate.
The US Secret Service is also assisting in the forensic review of
equipment and facilities. TSA is cooperating fully."
On Friday, the agency began the unhappy task notifying all
affected employees with instructions on how to protect themselves
against identity fraud.
Included was a letter from TSA Administrator Kip Hawley
(right) stating the agency will pay for a credit monitoring
service for one year, which includes all three national credit
bureau reports, fraud alerts, detection of fraudulent activity, and
identify theft, and fraud resolution and assistance.
"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," Hawley's letter states.
"We are notifying you out of an abundance of caution at this
early stage of the investigation given the significance of the
information contained on the device. We apologize that your
information may be subject to unauthorized access, and I deeply
regret this incident."
The TSA said it will take "swift disciplinary action, including
dismissal, against individuals found to be in violation of our
We're sure TSA workers feel safer already... kinda like
passengers do, when they go through security screening at the