The personal information of about 28,000 U.S. Navy sailors and their family members was posted on a public website this month, the military branch said in a statement.
Chief of Navy Personnel J.C. Harvey Jr. was told Thursday that an unnamed website hosted five data spreadsheets containing personal information on several Navy members and dependents, according to a statement released on Friday. The data included names, Social Security numbers and birthdates.
All of the affected personnel were stationed in areas devestated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to the Navy's website.
Once discovered by the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, the files quickly were removed from the site, according to the statement. The Navy did not say why or how the data got posted on the site – but added that victims should not immediately be worried.
"There is no evidence that any of the data has been used illegally," the statement said. "However, individuals are encouraged to carefully monitor their bank accounts, credit card accounts and other financial transactions."
Harvey, the Naval Network Warfare Command and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating.
The incident is unrelated to the May theft of a Department of Veterans Affairs laptop containing the data of 17.5 million U.S. Armed Forces members. The VA has said in a statement that the employee brought the laptop home, a violation of department policy.