National Guard data missing | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Guard data missing

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 4:03 PM

The Arkansas National Guard says personal information on 35,000 current and former Guard members (dating back to 1991) was contained in an external hard drive reported missing Feb. 22. There's no evidence that the device was stolen or being used for ill intent, but the Guard is alerting those affected of the potential for problems.

NATIONAL GUARD NEWS RELEASE

UPDATE:  Arkansas Guard alerting Soldiers of data loss
~ Data search discovers approximately 35,000 current and former Guardsmen
affected

CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Ark. - A team of Guardsmen searching data known to
be contained on an external hard drive that was reported missing on February
22 has discovered approximately 35,000 current and former members of the
Arkansas Army National Guard are affected by the loss.

While the unsecure drive was originally expected to affect only a portion of
the Arkansas Guard's current members, a single file discovered in the data
has now greatly increased the total numbers known to be affected.  A copy of
the Guard's personnel database which contains information on all Soldiers who
have served in the Arkansas Army National Guard since 1991 was found to be
among the files known to be on the missing drive.

The Guard's Information Management personnel are continuing to work closely
with the 39th Brigade to search the data in order to compile a complete list
of all affected in order to begin the process of individual notification.
The search is anticipated to continue through the week with notification
letters produced over the weekend.  Notification letters are expected to be
ready for first class mail delivery early next week.

An Arkansas Guard Soldier reported the loss after conducting an exhaustive
search to locate the drive when it was first realized as missing on February
15.  The drive was a backup storage device used by the Soldier to archive
work related information over the past six years.

The drive is said to include names, social security numbers and other
personal information which potentially places the affected Soldiers at risk
for identity theft.  There remains no evidence to suggest the device was
stolen or in the hands of anyone with bad intentions, however the Guard is
continuing to make every effort to identify those affected in order to alert
them of the potential data risk.

All potentially affected Soldiers are recommended to be extra vigilant and to
carefully monitor bank statements, credit card statements and any statements
relating to financial transactions since November 2009 when the device was
last used.  Unusual or suspicious activity should be immediately reported to
the financial institution involved.  Soldiers are also recommended to contact
one of the three major credit bureaus if they suspect suspicious activity.

Contact information for the three major credit bureaus as recommended by the
Federal Trade Commission follow:

                       Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com
                       Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com

                       TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com

These organizations can also place fraud alerts on one's credit upon request
of the individual in order to receive an alert notification when new credit
is applied for under his/her name.

This and other information on how to protect oneself from identity theft can
be found at:
http://www.arguard.org/PublicAffairs/WhatDoesIdentityTheftMean.pdf.

This inappropriate handling of our Soldiers' personal information is an
isolated incident which is now under investigation to help ensure steps are
taken to help prevent such an incident from occurring in the future. This
incident has been reported up to the U.S. CERT (Computer Emergency Response
Team), the National Guard Bureau and U.S. Army privacy authorities.


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