Security Experts:

California Department of Child Support Services' Storage Devices Go Missing

Late last week, the California Department of Child Support Services disclosed that storage devices containing child support customers’ sensitive personal information had been lost.

The Department said that on March 12, 2012, it was notified by California’s Office of Technology Services (OTech) that data storage devices being shipped from IBM to Iron Mountain via FedEx had been lost.

According to the Department of Child Support Services, the storage devices were being returned from an IBM facility in Colorado, where they had been sent in order to conduct a disaster recovery exercise. The Department said it does not believe the lost items were delivered to Iron Mountain.

What was on the storage devices? The documents and forms that were on the missing devices contained one or more of the following pieces of personal information: Names, Address, Social Security Number, Driver’s License Numbers, and certain Health Insurance Provider information, or Employer Information.

The Department said that the actual information for each participant would vary depending on what forms and documents had been processed for their individual case and said a letter is being sent to child support customers whose information may be affected. While the storage devices may be lost, the Department claims there is no evidence that the information has been misused in any way.

The number of affected individuals is reported to be around 800,000.

As a result of the incident, the California Office of Technology Services said it is working with their contractors to strengthen their information security practices and that it would establish new systems and processes that will eliminate the need for shipping storage devices in the future.

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