About 46,000 veterans’ personal data, including social security numbers, were compromised in a data breach, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday.
The VA Financial Services Center found “one of its online applications was accessed by unauthorized users to divert payments to community health care providers for the medical treatment of Veterans,” according to the VA’s statement. (Related: REPORT: HHS Computer System Hit With A Cyber Attack From A Potential Foreign Actor)
VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans https://t.co/JX9VmpkIWV pic.twitter.com/sq1oBTGFWC
— The Hill (@thehill) September 14, 2020
“To protect these Veterans, the FSC is alerting the affected individuals, including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased, of the potential risk to their personal information. The department is also offering access to credit monitoring services, at no cost, to those whose social security numbers may have been compromised,” the statement added.
The VA did not offer details regarding who hacked the system and how many social security numbers they accessed, according to The Hill.
“A preliminary review indicates these unauthorized users gained access to the application to change financial information and divert payments from VA by using social engineering techniques and exploiting authentication protocols,” according to the statement.
The department is notifying veterans whose information is potentially at risk from the hack and offering “credit monitoring services.”
The VA has received previous warnings that data was not properly secured. Last year, the Office of Inspector General found a Milwaukee VA regional office improperly stored veterans data leaving it vulnerable for months to remote users, according to Military.com.