Confidentiality

Employee details leaked in a data breach

March 14th, 2013

Company officials at Allen County Information Technology Department detected on March 21 that personal details of employees has been accidentally made available to unauthorized users, including social security numbers and more than 1,100 employees has been affected in this data breach. During the weekly Allen County Commissioners’ meeting, Prosecutor Juergen Waldick of Allen County said, “The data breach was determined and blocked within minutes of the county becoming aware of it last Thursday.” The confidential information discovered of all the 1,152 county employees included social security numbers, said the Allen County Commissioners during a press conference. This has also led to impact some retired county employees too. Nobody is believed to have misused any single information till now. The fact about the exact manner of how the information was released and how long it was made available for others to see and/or access was not discussed and is still unknown.

“There’s nothing to hide,” said Jay Begg, Allen County commissioner. “It’s just that we want to be sure employees’ identities and information are protected before we tell everybody what happened.” The confidential information released did not include any financial, retirement or health care information, Waldick said. “While there is no indication that any individual’s information has been improperly used, the county has taken appropriate steps to protect its employees from the consequences of the data breach,” Waldick said.

“It wasn’t something that someone maliciously did,” Noonan said. “We learned a lot more about the Internet in the past couple days.” Becky Saine, Administrator at Allen County told that the company purchased one-year Lifelock security memberships at a price of $25,000 for all the affected employees. Lifelock is an identity data theft protection company that monitors data threats and send notifications to users when a suspicious activity occurs. Although the information on data breach is unavailable, also there are no signs of any personal information being misused, there could be a possibility of information being copied when it leaked out or during the time it was posted and the news about data theft developed. Most employees of the company have been informed of the issue occurrence through phone calls and mails. “Since this did involve some employees who recently retired, we have made every attempt to contact them, and in most cases, contacted all of them,” Waldick said.

The mails and letters which were sent to county employees contained instructions to obtain the free Lifelock membership. “We have no reason to believe that any information has been or will be used in an inappropriate way; however, out of an abundance of caution, we want to make you aware of the event,” the letter read. “The Allen County Commissioners have retained Lifelock(R) to provide one (1) year of complimentary identity theft protection.” Questions in order to investigate about the incident were referred to Waldick, who was found unavailable for any further comments. And the calls, made to the company’s IT Department were not returned.

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