Double trouble: Pfizer suffers second breach in as many months as two laptops are stolen

What happened? Two laptops were stolen on May 31 from a locked car in Boston. The laptops were in the possession of management-consulting firm Axia Ltd.

What types of personal information? The laptops contained the personal information of 950 health care professionals – including taxpayer identification numbers, home and business addresses, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses and compensation information.

What was the response? The company sent a letter to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on July 20.

A letter has also been sent to victims.

Pfizer and Axia are monitoring the situation through a forensic review.

Details: The personal information belongs to health care professionals who were providing, or considering providing, contract services for Pfizer.

Quotes: “I am deeply disturbed and troubled by these continuing security problems with information that should be closely safeguarded,” said Blumenthal. “This kind of information should be treated as if it was cash, because it has the same value as cash to someone who might misuse it.”

“Pfizer and Axia take data security very seriously and we are both taking steps to enhance data security,” said Lisa M. Goldman of Pfizer’s Privacy Office. “For example, Axia is adding stronger encryption features to all Axia laptops, as well as software that would be able to help Axia locate and retrieve any stolen or missing laptops. Pfizer is in the process of limiting the use of (Social Security Numbers) whenever possible, and exploring a range of other data-security improvements.”

Source: The Day of New London, Aug. 14, “Pfizer reports laptops stolen in second breach in two months

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