CT: Willimantic town employees’ information was on unattended laptop stolen from employee’s office
Alison Shea reports:
Willimantic police are asking for the public’s help in recovering a laptop containing town employees’ information that was stolen from Town Hall a week ago.
Police said in a release late Sunday that a town employee had left the laptop unattended in his office in Windham Town Hall from 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 17 while he was in a meeting. When he returned, the laptop was gone, police said.
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Helen Lawson - September 25, 2012
Employers like these need to start thinking about FACTA penalties, if nothing else. Having ID theft protection in place as an employee benefit can help them respond quickly to mitigate.
IA Eng - September 26, 2012
Security only works if some more common sense practices are in place. Some may be a pain is the rump, but they are effective.
1. No matter where – secure the laptop with a cable to something heavy.
2. No lock on the door ? no security cameras, guards or otherwise ?
3. No tracking software installed like LO-JACK for laptops? Some OEM packages may include this.
4. Lock out attempts set to a low number, AND requires an Administrator to login and unlock?
Password protected laptops aren’t enough when it comes to PII – It should be encrypted with some sort of approved software. Depending on the operating system, password protected laptops can be cracked within a matter of minutes, or using a specific boot disk, the password can be changed and data accessed.
One can only guess the motivation behind the theft. One may try to immediately pawn the item for quick cash trying to dump the item before the item is reported stolen.
Tracking down the potential thief may be hard, but one can look at people who have visited the buiding to make payments, inquiries or simply browsed services available at the site. The web server logs may assist somehow, like looking at the IP addresses over the past week and seeing if those can be helpful – especially if they were viewing workers profile information and any meetings that are on the website. Another avenue is the periodicity of meetings – if these meetings are the same time each week, some one (insider or outsider) may have noticed the laptop is commonly used, unsecure and unattended in an (open or closed?) office/cubicle.
In this day and age, its alot safer to have data stored on a network device and access, modify and save that data as needed. That way there aren’t multiple copies of the same data which multiple people have modified over time. Plus, if set up correctly, if the system is rebooted most of the META data may be scrubbed. The government should have encrypted hard drives like that thumbdrive – after 10 unsuccessful log-in attempts in a row, the hard drive can render itself useless.