Drive Encryption Software: First Federal Bank of Florida Mortgage Data Stolen.

Mortgage data.  The last time I checked, mortgage data includes lots of personal information that you don’t want lost or stolen.  So, it only makes sense to protect it with the likes of laptop encryption software such as AlertBoot.  First Federal Bank of Florida somehow didn’t think so.

Break-In, Things Stolen

On July 23, a thief or thieves broke into the Jacksonville office of First Federal Bank of Florida.  Not only were computers stolen, but office supplies and personal items were taken as well.  However, this shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the risk of data theft is low.  We live in an era where data theft is a very profitable one, and as such, must assume that the information in the computers is compromised.

On the other hand, if encryption software had been used on the machines, we could easily assume the complete opposite: that the information in the computers is not compromised.  Were the computers encrypted?  As the letter to the New Hampshire DA’s office shows, the answer is no:

In addition to office supplies and personal items, some computer equipment containing unencrypted client information was also taken.  Personal information that may have been exposed included name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, driver’s license number, credit card numbers and bank account numbers. [, my emphasis]

This fact was not revealed in the data breach notification letters to mortgage applicants.  It has not been revealed how many people in total were affected.

Computer Encryption: Not Using It is Less than Ideal

I’m surprised by the revelation that the computers that were stolen were not protected with encryption.  That a financial services company isn’t using data encryption software to protect clients’ data in today’s environment is quite unusual.

This is true even if the computers in question were desktop computers.  I mean, what’s there to prevent a desktop computer from being stolen, as opposed to laptops?  Its size?  Only if the thieves are four year-olds.  An adult healthy enough to break-in for thieving is more than able-bodied to steal desktop computers.

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