The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that nearly 250,00 former and current government employees likely had personal data compromised at some point in recent years.
And it’s not only federal workers that were affected — a second group “comprised of individuals (i.e, subjects, witnesses, and complainants)” also had personal information like Social Security numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, etc., compromised.
“You may have been impacted by this privacy incident if you were employed by DHS in 2014, or if you were associated with a DHS OIG investigation from 2002 through 2014,” reads an official agency press release. “On May 10, 2017, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by DHS OIG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DHS OIG discovered an unauthorized copy of its investigative case management system in the possession of a former DHS OIG employee.”
Due to the minimal details provided on how the information was exposed, all that is really known is that it wasn’t part of a cyber attack, and was part of a criminal investigation of a past staffer — the identity of whom is also not disclosed. A spokeswoman for DHS declined to provide The Daily Caller News Foundation with details beyond the press release.
DHS adds in its statement that it took it roughly seven months to notify affected employees because “the investigation was complex,” and “extensive forensic analysis” had to be conducted.
As for what to do if impacted by the massive breach, the DHS says while it can’t specifically give direct notice to individuals, it is offering 18 months of free credit monitoring and identity protection services.
Ironically, other suggestions “regarding credit freezes and credit reports” include contacting Equifax, a credit assessment agency that recently experienced a massive data breach itself, as well as a number of other apparent controversies and gaffes.
“Please be assured that we will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again,” the press release reads. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
While allegedly not pursuant to the intricacies of cybersecurity, the DHS data breach is just one of many examples of improper identity protection in a world perpetually growing in data collection.
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