Stolen Contractor Laptop Compromises 131,000 Guardsmen's Identities

By Matthew Harwood

A contractor for the Army National Guard whose laptop was stolen has compromised the personal data of 131,000 current and former guardsmen.

The stolen laptop, reported the Chicago Tribune, contained "names, addresses, Social Security numbers and payment data for those enrolled in the Army National Guard Bonus and Incentives Program." The National Guard has advised guardsmen affected to put a fraud alert on their credit card accounts.

National Guard Bureau spokesman Randy Noller told the Tribune that it would not release the contractor's name or detail how and where the theft occurred on July 27.

But as computer security expert Larry Ponemon of the Ponemon Institute told the Tribune, the contractor violated the most commonsense data security principles.

"To physically carry 131,000 records and use your laptop as a way of manipulating that information, there is never an excuse," he said. "There is no reason that would be an acceptable security posture for any company. That's definitely an indication of bad security."

Noller, however, wasn't as harsh: "The guy was doing his job, trying to do it well and didn't do the right thing."

♦ Photo by Bart Van Lancker/Flickr


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