Archive for July, 2013

Seattle sheriff’s laptop stolen from her truck

July 3rd, 2013

People sleep peacefully on their beds at night only because they know that cops stands ready to flee away the thieves and criminals. Yes, there are some people who do not fear cops, read this article to find out how a laptop belonging to a detective of a Seattle sheriff’s office was stolen.

You must have heard of laptop theft incidents but this time the thieves had planned something big. A laptop belonging to an undercover officer of a Seattle sheriff’s office was stolen from her truck.  Around 2,300 individuals were informed that they might have become victims of identity theft.

As per the information by Komo News, the stolen laptop contained sensitive unencrypted information such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and case files containing personal information about crime victims, witnesses, suspects and cops officers.

According to a detective with the Sheriff’s office, the notification letters were not sent immediately because it took them a while to find out whose information was compromised. “Somebody had to go through and read everything and cull out all of that information,” she said.

The detective violated KCSO policy which says: (1) always use encryption software when sensitive data is stored on a digital storage device, like a laptop or an external hard drive, (2) not to store any sensitive data on devices that were not issued by the Sheriff’s Office, (3) never taking sensitive data outside of the office.

This might not have been the first time that they have experienced such data theft, but this one was definitely the worst till now, said the detective. She was questioned by many people that why they not enforce encryption at the time of theft to prevent any possibility of data breach. In her reply she said that they were currently adding encryption software to all the computers in the office and they did not manage to do it in all the systems when the laptop was stolen. Sixty percent of the computers were finished, but the stolen laptop was not one of them.

But the question remains that why would anyone leave an unencrypted laptop in the car knowing that it contains highly sensitive information which can cause huge damage if stolen.

Encryption software like Alertsec would have helped!

The use of encryption software would have helped to keep files protected on the computer. With encryption installed, none of the information or credentials would have been lost. Alertsec uses industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software to create a web based encryption service that simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption.

The best way to protect information stored on a PC is by using encryption. Alertsec Xpress offers full disk encryption and is therefore superior to other encryption methods when comparing security, performance, robustness and ease-of-use for both administrators and users.

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A laptop containing 6300 students’ data stolen from USC

July 1st, 2013

The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. USC has an enrollment of approximately 46,264 students, with 31,288 on the main Columbia campus. Read further to learn how a big university like USC will have to suffer in case of a laptop theft.

A laptop of a faculty member from University of South Carolina was stolen from a locked room in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The laptop contained the names and Social Security numbers of up to 6,300 students.

Letters notifying the students about the possibility of data breach were sent by USC. The letter reads that as of now there is no evidence that any personal information had been accessed. Students were also asked to put fraud alerts on their credit reports and get a new copy of their credit reports.

USC spokesman Wes Hickman said, “It would not have been stored in a file that would’ve made it obvious. The computer itself was password protected, so it wouldn’t be easy to just log onto the computer and find the information. But it was full names and Social Security numbers.” As per the information shared by Wes Hickman, the students who opted for one of four Physics courses from January 2010 up till last semester were the ones whose information must have been on the stolen laptop.

Last August also USC had a security breach, when a hacker from another country hacked into a server at the College of Education and stole the personal information of almost 34,000 students.  Hickman said that he is not aware of any reported identity thefts from that security breach incident. He further added “We have an initiative right now called ‘Secure Carolina.’ We’re spending several million dollars to go through the steps that we need to do to help protect data, protect physical property, as well as data that may be stored on computers and servers and things like that.”

Both the incidents were not related to each other, however the university must take some serious actions to improve its security to prevent any such activity in future. After this incident university decided to phase out the use of Social Security numbers used for identification of students.

Encryption software like Alertsec would have helped!

The use of encryption software would have helped to keep files protected on the computer. With encryption installed, none of the information or credentials would have been lost. Alertsec uses industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software to create a web based encryption service that simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption.

The best way to protect information stored on a PC is by using encryption. Alertsec Xpress offers full disk encryption and is therefore superior to other encryption methods when comparing security, performance, robustness and ease-of-use for both administrators and users.

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