By Damien Garvey, Technical Account Manager at Backup-Technology
November 06, 2012

Backup-Technology Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Personal Data Compromised after Backup Tapes Lost in Transit

TD Bank has become the latest organisation to suffer a data loss that has compromised data belonging to thousands of customers by losing a set of unencrypted backup tapes. The backup tapes contained customer’s names, addresses, Social Security numbers, account numbers and debit or credit card numbers were lost when in transit in March.

The loss of the unencrypted backup tapes may have resulted in identity theft along with debit and credit cards being used for unauthorised transactions. What is even more concerning is TD Bank’s attitude towards the whole incident and the length of time that it has taken to notify the affected customers.  TD Bank only started to notify the affected customers within the last week by sending them a letter which has obviously infuriated many customers. So far, TD Bank has failed to explain how many customers have been affected and how the tapes were lost in the first place. Rebecca Acevedo who is a spokeswoman for TD Banks revealed that the delay in notifying the affected customers was because they were conducting an internal investigation into the whole affair.

Acevedo [ ] stated, “We weighed everything as far as the investigation and what was going on. We figured now was a good time.”

The fact that the bank was transporting backup tapes that were unencrypted has raised concerns about TD Bank’s whole backup procedure. The fact that the tapes were being transported in an unencrypted format is a huge security risk and the bank may suffer as disgruntled and concerned customers may start to move their business to competing banks.

Caleb Gannon [ ] who was one of those to receive a letter regarding the data loss proclaimed, “It makes you think twice about the bank. I’ll probably change banks.”

So far TD Bank haven’t seen any misuse of the information that was stored on the backup tapes and have offered a free credit monitoring service for twelve months for the affected customers.

The greatest concern with this case is the fact that the tapes were being transported in an unencrypted format. They obviously need to backup their data but it is imperative that they do this in a secure way, especially when backing up such confidential data. I can understand transporting the tapes to another site to ensure that they have a copy of the customer’s data offsite. However, there are now a number of solutions that are available in the market which can offer a more secure method of backup which can help businesses keep confidential data more secure and significantly reduce the risk of compromising data.

About the Author: Damien Garvey is a Technical Account Manager at Backup-Technology, an Asigra powered cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions provider.

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