June 10, 2004 4:37 PM PDT

UCLA laptop theft exposes ID info

Representatives of the University of California, Los Angeles, are warning 145,000 blood donors they could be at risk for identity theft due to a stolen university laptop.


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UCLA's Blood and Platelet Center included the advisory in a letter sent last week to all who donated blood through the organization.

Thieves broke into a locked van last November and grabbed a laptop with a database that includes names, birth dates and Social Security numbers for all blood donors, according to a university statement. The database did not include medical information other than blood type, according to the statement, and university officials did not recognize the significance of the loss and the potential for identity theft until the matter came up in a security audit last month.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience this incident may cause our blood donors," Dr. Priscilla I. Figueroa, director of the university's Division of Transfusion Medicine, said in the statement. "We hope and trust that they will continue participating in our blood drives and making these lifesaving donations."

The database was password-protected but not encrypted, according to the statement, which said the university was reviewing data security policies in light of the incident.

Los Angeles police are investigating the theft, according to the university, and there is no evidence yet that information in the database has been retrieved or misused.

University representatives said in a follow-up statement that a second laptop was stolen two weeks ago from the financial office of the University's health care division, putting personal information for an additional 62,000 patients at risk.

Widespread use of laptops has presented an increasing risk for security theft, with lost or stolen devices potentially exposing data ranging from FBI secrets to tax records in recent years.

3 comments

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Re: stolen UCLA laptops
Does anyone know how far back (in time) the records go that
have been compromised? I was both a blood donor and a blood
recipient there in 2002 and haven't heard from them regarding
the theft.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
stolen laptop
I have a tool that prevents hardware,laptops,hard drives etc
reply to info.cg@quickclic.net
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
stolen laptops
There are several things that laptop users can do to protect themselves from experiencing this type of headache. The most effective is the Krickit. A 2 factor access management and file encryption device that allows users to encrypt the information that is important to them, disable the use of cd-rom, floppy or removable devices, and perform access management functions like auto logon/logoff.

Laptop theft does not need to be such a disaster! Sure it is expensive to replace a laptop but if you do not have to worry about explaining to the people affected, why their information was comprimised and possibly face lawsuits.

With the low cost of this highly effective security device it doesnt make sense to leave customer, proprietary or personal information unprotected.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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