Personal data of 4,000 SEC employees exposed

Share this article:
The personal information of thousands of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees was accidentally exposed in an unencrypted email.

How many victims? 4,000.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers and payroll information.

What happened? The email was sent May 4 by an employee at the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Business Center, a service center in charge of payroll, human resources and financial reporting for dozens of federal agencies, including the SEC. The contractor forgot to encrypt the message, and software in place to detect such an error failed.

Details: The personal data was exposed for about one minute, while in transit. There is no indication that the data was intercepted.

The National Business Center recently has had several other breaches of employee information. In February 2010, a similar software malfunction nearly exposed personnel data, but an employee caught the mistake. Then in May, the center reported that a CD, containing sensitive information on about 7,500 federal employees from several government agencies, was lost.

What was the response? An investigation was launched after the most recent breach was discovered. An assessment of the software and security protocols at the National Business Center is ongoing.

Affected employees are being offered 60 days of free credit monitoring.

Source: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/, “Email exposed 4,000 Securities and Exchange Commission employees,” May 18, 2011.
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of SC Magazine to post a comment.
close

Next Article in The Data Breach Blog

Sign up to our newsletters

POLL

More in The Data Breach Blog

Backup hard drive stolen from law firm contained personal info

Social security numbers were among the information on a backup hard drive that was stolen from an employee of Imhoff and Associates, PC.

POS malware infections at two OTTO pizzeria locations in Maine

About 900 customers at two OTTO pizzeria locations in Portland, Maine, had payment card data compromised after POS malware was discovered on terminals.

Los Angeles-based health system breached; more than 500 patients affected

Personal information on more than 500 Cedars-Sinai Health System patients was compromised after a laptop was stolen from an employee's home.