The RIPTA Data Breach May Provide Valuable Lessons About Data Collection and Retention

Joseph J. Lazzarotti of JacksonLewis writes:

Efforts to secure systems and data from a cyberattack often focus on measures such as multifactor authentication (MFA), endpoint monitoring solutions, antivirus protections, and role-based access management controls, and for good reason. But there is a basic principle of data protection that when applied across an organization can significantly reduce the impact of a data incident – the minimum necessary principle. A data breach reported late last year by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) highlights the importance of this relatively simple but effective tool.

In December 2021, RIPTA sent notification of a data breach to several thousand individuals who were not RIPTA employees. Reports of the incident prompted inquiries from a state Senator in Rhode Island, Louis P. DiPalma, and union officials who represented the affected individuals. According to Rhode Island’s Department of Administration (DOA), a forensic analysis conducted in connection with the incident indicates the affected files included health plan billing records pertaining to State of Rhode Island employees, not RIPTA employees. The DOA goes on to state that:

[s]tate employee data was incorrectly shared with RIPTA by an external third party who had responsibility for administering the state’s health plan billing.

Read more at Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security Report.

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