Laptop with personal data about thousands stolen from Army employee

Military information security experts say the data from Fort Belvoir recreational facilities was secured and unlikely to be compromised

A government laptop with names and personally identifiable information (PII) of slightly more than 42,000 customers of child-care and recreational facilities at Fort Belvoir was stolen from a U.S. Army employee on Nov. 28, according to the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command (FMWRC).

FMWRC said the laptop that was taken from one of its employees may have included the PII about soldiers and their family members, Defense Department employees and others who used the facilities that include child-care centers, bowling lanes and golf courses since 2005.

Military information security experts who assessed the risk posed by the missing data believe it’s unlikely the information will be compromised because it’s protected by three layers of security access and encryption passwords, FMWRC said in a Dec. 16 statement about the incident.

Meanwhile, FMWRC said it has sent letters to those whose information was affected by the breach. William Bradner, a spokesman for FMWRC, said the command is assisting those people to set up initial credit fraud alerts.

Bradner added that because of the different types of facilities, the amount of information involved varies by each record. For example, depending on what facility was being used, data could include someone’s name and address, name and credit card number, or name and social security number, he said.

FMWRC said the laptop was taken after someone broke into an employee's Florida residence, and that in addition to the laptop other electronics and jewelry were stolen.

Local authorities continue to investigate the theft which appears to be a random burglary, FMWRC said. Meanwhile, military authorities are investigating whether proper security protocols were followed.

Officials are encouraging people who have used one of the facilities since 2005 but haven’t received official notification to call 1-866-276-9697.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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