VA enlists help to assess data breach

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson announced today that the VA has entered into an agreement with ID Analytics, a California-based company, to provide free data breach analysis services.

The company will scan for suspicious activity related to the May computer equipment theft that might have compromised the personal data of some 26.5 million veterans and their families, VA spokesman Matthew Burns said.

The stolen laptop computer and hard drive were recovered in late June and mid-July. The FBI said it was highly confident the data had not been accessed or compromised.

The company will give the VA an initial analysis and then offer assessments on a quarterly basis.

Nicholson promised to overhaul the VA’s information technology offices and tighten security controls.

But on Aug. 3, a VA contractor’s computer containing personal records on about 35,000 veterans mainly in the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and South Jersey areas went missing from the Unisys offices in Reston, Va.

Unisys has agreed to provide free credit monitoring for any veterans affected.

Burns said veterans will soon receive two letters. In the first one, the VA will explain the situation. Once the details have been finalized, the second letter will outline how the affected veterans can sign up for credit monitoring.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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