Seniors’ data on stolen Pennsylvania government laptop

Burglars stole a Pennsylvania Department of Aging-issued laptop from the home of an employee, and the machine contained the personal data of about 21,000 senior citizens.

What kind of personal information? Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and some medical data.

What was the response? The agency is notifying the victims, and they will receive three months of free credit monitoring, expected to cost the state $23,000. Seniors can then extend the protection for a year at the state's expense.

Details: The laptop, which was double password protected but not encrypted, was stolen from the home of an employee  attending a funeral. Police do not believe the thieves stole the laptop for the data residing on it. When the theft occurred, the department was in the process of extending encryption to all computers and is creating a central database so information does not need to be downloaded to individual machines.

Quote:"We believe this was an isolated incident and that the provisions we've taken with contacting (consumer credit reporting agency) TransUnion and contacting the customers, should give our consumers and clients a sense of safety." - Agency spokeswoman Michele Bell Gopinath., The Patriot News, "Stolen laptop holds data on seniors," Dec. 19.

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