RealTime IT News

Latest Breach Hits Navy

There's been another government data breach. This time it's the U.S. Navy.

Late Friday afternoon, the Navy announced approximately 28,000 sailors and their family members were exposed to potential identity theft when a civilian Web site posted five spreadsheets with the personal data of military personnel.

The information disclosed in the spreadsheets includes the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of the 28,000 Navy members and dependents.

According to the Navy, there is no evidence that any of the data has been used illegally. The files have been removed from the site, and the Navy is investigating how and when the files were placed on the Internet.

"Once again, we face the prospect that sensitive information on active duty military personnel has possibly been compromised," U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said in a statement. "It is a reminder that, in this modern age, federal agencies and military offices must take every caution to ensure the safety of sensitive personal information."

The Joint Task Force Global Network Operations first reported the breach to the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command, part of the Naval Network Warfare Command. The Chief of Naval Personnel was notified on Thursday.

"In this case, it appears the Navy took quick action to get the data removed from the Web site and soon will be contacting the affected individuals, and I applaud them for their response," Davis said.

The latest breach follows an outbreak of disclosures by various federal agencies, including the Veterans Administration (VA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Last week, the USDA reported hackers may have accessed the personal information of as many as 26,000 current and former Agriculture employees. The information included the names, Social Security numbers and photos of the personnel.

Also last week, the FTC said laptops of two of its attorneys containing the personal information of 110 people were stolen from a locked vehicle last week.

However, the late May breach of the VA dwarfed last week's breaches.

In the second-largest data breach on record, the VA said approximately 26.5 million veterans were exposed to identity theft when a VA employee violated agency policy and took a laptop with the information.

The laptop was then stolen in a home burglary.

The Navy said Friday it is in the process of contacting its personnel to ensure they have information on guarding against identity theft. Both the FTC and the USDA are providing one year of free credit monitoring to those affected by the intrusion.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has earmarked $160 million to cover the cost of the VA's credit-monitoring obligations.