• United States



Data Theft at the VA

Jun 22, 20064 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Early in May, personal records for roughly 26.5 million veterans, stored in a laptop computer, were stolen from the home of a data analyst working for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yet the VA took almost three weeks to disclose that the theft ever happened. Government officials and veterans organizations are in an uproar that a breach of this magnitude, said to be the largest in U.S. history, was even possible. In the aftermath and following investigations, there have been resignations, firings and a wholesale rethinking of how the government and private agencies should be protecting personal information.Follow the events here, as they happen.

Recent News:

VA: All Dept. Computers to Get Security Boost – Posted August 14, 2006Another PC with Veterans’ Information is Missing – Posted August 8, 2006Two Charged in VA Laptop Theft – Posted August 7, 2006VA’s General Counsel Resigns – Posted July 21, Bush Administration Cancels Free Credit Monitoring for Veterans – Posted July 18, 2006VA, USDA Report No Loss of Data from Breaches – Posted July 18, 2006Report: VA Responded to Data Theft with Indifference – Posted July 12, 2006VA’s CIO Now Has InfoSec Authority – Posted July 6, 2006VA Chief Information Security Officer Resigns – Posted June 30, 2006Two Other Data Breaches at VA – Posted June 30, 2006Stolen VA Laptop Recovered – Posted June 29, 2006Judge Bars VA from Publicizing Credit Monitoring – Posted June 26, 2006

Lawmaker: VA’s Credit Monitoring Offer Not Enough – Posted June 22, 2006

Virginia VA Bars Home Use of Its Laptops – Posted June 22, 2006VA Offers Free Credit Monitoring to Vets – Posted June 21, 2006GAO: More Leadership and Security Needed at VA – Posted June 20, 2006

House Panel: VA Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings – Posted June 14, 2006

Business Bureau Establishes Site for Veterans – Posted June 13, 2006VA Chief Calls for Stronger Data Laws – Posted June 9, 2006Letters Sent to Veterans at Risk of Data Theft – Posted June 8, 2006VA Data Theft Affects 2.2M Active-Duty Troops – Posted June 7, 2006Veterans Groups Sue Over VA Data Theft – Posted June 6, 2006VA Data Loss Could Prompt US Federal Privacy Law – Posted June 6, 2006Active Military IDs Among Stolen VA Data – Posted June 5, 2006Connecticut Proactive in Helping Veterans After Data Theft – Posted June 2, 2006Stolen VA Data in Unusual Format – Posted June 1, 2006VA Names New Security Adviser in Wake of Data Theft – Posted June 1, 2006 – Posted June 1, 2006VA Official Resigns Due to Data Theft – Posted May 31, 2006VA Data Theft Could Cost Taxpayers $500M – Posted May 25, 2006VA Chief Promises Accountability for ID Theft – Posted May 25, 2006Data Security Becoming Political Issue – Posted May 24, 2006Gov’t Source: Vet Data Theft Kept Quiet for Nearly 3 Weeks – Posted May 23, 2006Data on 26.5M Veterans Stolen from VA Staffer’s Home – Posted May 22, 2006Related Articles:

Stolen VA Data More than Originally Reported

VA’s M.I.A. Laptop Is Rescued — Now What?

Blog post by Thomas Wailgum

An Expert’s Perspective on the VA Data TheftThe Five Most Shocking Things About the ChoicePoint DebacleWhat Security Professionals Think About EncryptionWhen the Dike Breaks: Responding to the Inevitable Data BreachPrivacy Gets Partisan19 Ways to Build Physical Security into a Data Center

By Paul L. Kerstein

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By Larry Ponemon

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By Kathleen Carr

Five Ways to Fight ID TheftOnline:

By Sarah D. Scalet


The federal website offering information on this situation is located at:

Better Business Bureau


Federal toll free number: 1-800-FED INFO (1-800-333-4636)

– The call center will operate from 8 am to 9 pm (EDT), Monday-Saturday as long as it is needed.