Another Computer Data Loss at Veterans Administration

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A Second Data Theft Has occured at the VA exposing 37,000 Veterans to Identity Fraud

Washington, DC– A newly reported missing computer involving the personal information of 37,000 veterans has triggered a stern reaction from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“On Friday VA officials informed members of Congress that a desktop computer containing information on veterans insurance claims was discovered missing from a subcontractor’s offices in Reston, Virginia. Since it was a private contractor involved, I expect VA to hold the contractor financially responsible for any costs that veterans may incur as the result of this loss,” said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) who chairs the Senate oversight committee on veterans’ issues.

VA was notified Thursday, August 3, by the Unisys Corporation that a desk top computer was missing from the contractor’s offices in Reston, Virginia. The Department of Veterans Affairs immediately dispatched a team to assist in the search for the missing computer and to help determine the precise nature of the information it may have contained. According to VA officials, information on the computer was password protected but was not encrypted…

     

Initial estimates indicate the desktop contained information on approximately 5,000 patients treated at Philadelphia, approximately 11,000 patients treated at Pittsburgh, and approximately 2,000 deceased patients. VA is also investigating the possibility the computer may have contained information on approximately another 20,000 people who received care through the Pittsburgh medical center.

It is believed the desktop computer may have contained patients’ names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, insurance carriers and billing information, dates of military service, and claims data that may include some medical information.

Over the weekend police arrested two individuals both 19 years old in the theft of another computer which contained personal information of 26 million veterans and active-duty military members. A third individual a unnamed juvenile is also being held in custody.

The loss of that computer earlier this year led to several resignations at VA and numerous hearings on Capitol Hill. An analysis by FBI forensic experts determined the data was not breached.

“I hope that we have as good of news this time,” Craig said. “We clearly appear to have a systems problem with VA data security that needs to be fixed.”

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