Two laptop computers stolen from Albright College (Reading, Pennsylvania) has led to the breach of personal information for 10,000 students. Albright has not yet revealed whether the devices were protected with laptop encryption software, such as AlertBoot, which would ensure that the students’ details remain out of reach, even if the laptop remains with the thieves.
Update (15 APR 2011): According to databreaches.net, one of the two computers has been recovered. It appears to be the one that held the sensitive information.
Several Computers Stolen in February
According to on-line reports in the media, several computers were stolen from the Albright campus in February. Of these, two were stolen from the financial aid office (Selwyn Hall) and contained names, addresses, dates of birth, and/or Social Security numbers for college faculty, staff, and students — current, prospective, and former. A video report notes that the breach incident affects mostly former students.
It was also noted that the breach could also affect “spouses or joint account holders, among others.”
Albright College Gets Better Security
Albright said it has also taken steps to enhance its security measures in an effort to prevent future thefts.
“We have increased evening and weekend patrols by Public Safety,” said Eichhorn. “Information Technology Services will be working with departments across campus to reduce the use of confidential information in their processes and better protect necessary information, including the use of enhanced encryption technology. We are also examining policies pertaining to retention and use of documents and information.” [wfmz.com]
All of the above are part of a good data security plan. The increased patrols will ensure that break-ins are minimized (and also increase the chances of a pursuit of thieves and recovery of assets).
Reducing the amount of confidential information will ensure that a theft doesn’t necessarily turn into a data breach. The use of encryption technology serves to do the same if confidential data needs to be saved to a portable medium.
(In fact, while I shouldn’t be going around espousing this, I’d actually feel safer because of the encryption over the fact that there’s more patrolling.)
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