Breach, Data Security

Thief steals U.S. Army laptop from employee’s home

A laptop containing the personal information of tens of thousands of U.S. Army soldiers, family members and U.S. Department of Defense employees was recently stolen.

How many victims? 42,000.

What type of personal information? Names and unspecified personally identifiable information.

What happened? The laptop was stolen on Nov. 28 from an employee of the Fort Belvoir Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Command, located in Virginia. There were signs of forced entry into the employee's residence where the laptop was stolen. Other high-value electronics and jewelry were also stolen.

Details: The Family and MWR Command operates several facilities on Fort Belvoir, including child care centers, bowling alleys, restaurants, and golf courses. Individuals who have who used an MWR facility on Fort Belvoir since 2005 may be included in the data on the laptop.

It is unlikely the information on the computer will be compromised because it was protected by three layers of security access and encryption passwords.

What was the response? The Family and MWR Command was made aware of the theft Dec. 1, then conducted an assessment to determine the extent of the breach. Letters will be sent to affected individuals.

Local authorities are investigating the incident, which appears to be a random burglary. Military authorities are investigating whether proper security protocols were followed.

Source: U.S. Army,, “Laptop containing personal information about MWR customers stolen,” Dec. 16, 2009.

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