Oklahoma Section 8 landlords and clients at risk

A laptop from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, which contained personal client information was recently stolen from an employee’s home.

How many victims? 225,000.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers, tax identification numbers, birth dates and addresses.

What happened? The burglary occurred at the employee's Oklahoma City home on April 22. The front door was kicked in, and the laptop was stolen, along with jewelry, a camera, a gun and another laptop in the home, Oklahoma City police Capt. Steve McCool told NewsOK. Investigators swept the home for fingerprints but recovered none. Another burglary was reported at a nearby home the same morning, McCool said.

Details: The information of past and present clients and landlords of the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is on the laptop.

The stolen laptop had two layers of password protection -- one to log in to the computer and another to access the secure files. The employee whose home it was stolen from worked in the field assisting clients and had permission to take the laptop home.

This is the third breach at an Oklahoma state agency this year. In late April, a laptop containing the personal information of about half a million Oklahoma residents was stolen from an employee of the state Department of Human Services (DHS).

In addition, in March, data contained on a flash drive of an Oklahoma Employment Security Commission employee was lost. It contained names and Social Security numbers of about 5,000 Oklahomans. It also was not encrypted, NewsOK reported.

Quote: "The worry is in them realizing the value of the data is more than the computer,” Mark Weiser, associate dean and director of the Center for Telecommunications and Network Security at Oklahoma State University told NewsOK. "If they want what’s inside, it won’t be very hard to get to it.”

What was the response? The agency sent a letter to affected individuals. In addition, they are planning to encrypt computers but have not yet done so.

Source:, NewsOK, “Latest Oklahoma data loss puts 225,000 at risk,” April 30, 2009.

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