Thursday, June 22, 2006

STOLEN LAPTOP MORE THAN SIMPLE THEFT -- The recent rash of stolen laptops should give us pause:
Social Security numbers and the birthdates of 13,000 District workers and retirees were among the data contained on a laptop stolen last week from the Southeast Washington house of an employee of ING U.S. Financial Services.

And Wednesday, Equifax reported that an employee's laptop was stolen on a London train, compromising the personal records of about 2,500 of the company's Atlanta-based employees.

"By the time you add up a million here and 900,000 there and 4 million over there, you've covered most of the credit-holding and wage-earning population of the U.S.," said Marcus J. Ranum, a firewall designer, in an e-mail. "I'm sure my math is suspect, but I estimate that there are about 156 Americans whose personal information has not yet been compromised."

The thefts are being reported in large part because many states have passed laws requiring that they disclose potential data breaches.