The computer file contained the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses of Oklahoma's Human Services' clients receiving benefits from programs such as Medicaid, child care assistance, nutrition aid and disability benefits, the agency announced Thursday.
The computer, which was stolen when a thief broke into the car April 3 after the employee stopped on her way home from work, was password protected, and officials do not believe the burglar realized what he or she was stealing. Therefore, the risk of the data being accessed is minimal, according to the agency.
"We feel this was not a situation where someone was targeting the agency or that information," DHS spokeswoman Mary Leaver told SCMagazineUS.com on Friday. "We feel it was random."
Leaver said the state Office of Inspector General is conducting an investigation, out of which likely will come a mandatory review of information security policies. However, it is not believed the employee violated existing policy when the incident occurred, she said.
News of the theft comes one day after the Ponemon Institute, in conjunction with Intel, released a study that found the average value of a lost laptop is $49,246. About 80 percent of the cost is related to the chance that a breach could occur, the study showed.