Laptops are still being stolen from unattended vehicles. So why are they still unencrypted?

Today’s somewhat infuriating breach notification is from the city of Banos, California.

On or before January 31, the city notified people who had personal information on a laptop that was stolen from an employee’s vehicle. The laptop was password-protected but unencrypted, and the city acknowledges that someone could remove data from the hard drive, although they don’t think it’s likely. They also claim there is no evidence of any fraud or misuse, but they admit that they do not know if any personal information was ever actually viewed or acquired by the unauthorized party.

So after making “we don’t think” kind of reassurances, and after failing to tell people when the laptop was stolen and when they first learned of the theft, and telling them that they are offering them one year of complimentary services with an Experian product, the city finally gets around to describing what kind of unencrypted personal information was on the stolen laptop:

The impacted information for each individual differs but included your name and Social Security number. The information also may have included your driver’s license number and, for a small number of individuals could have included one or more of the following: passport number, financial information such as account or credit/debit number, username and password, and biometric and/or medical information.

And they think that they weren’t actually required to tell people about this incident, but are just notifying them because they want to?

According to metadata on the California Attorney General’s site, this incident was reported to the state on January 31, 2020. But the theft itself reportedly occurred on September 23, 2019. So when did the city first find out if they said they “recently learned?”  And was it city policy to have unencrypted data or unencrypted laptops leave the office and be left in unattended vehicles? What did the city do in response to this incident in terms of policies and procedures?




About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.