By Damien Garvey, Technical Account Manager at Backup-Technology
December 12, 2012

Backup-Technology Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Data Breach puts Personal Information at Risk

Pinnacle Foods Group LLC has become the latest company who have publicised a data breach incident which could result in data belonging to 1,818 individuals falling into the wrong hands. The data breach occurred on the 11th October 2012 when a company laptop was stolen from an employee’s home. Although the laptop was password protected, the data wasn’t encrypted and therefore the potential risk of the data becoming compromised is massively increased.

The data that was on the laptop consisted of names, social security numbers, credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers. This confidential data which could potentially become compromised belongs to 1,818 people who reside across thirteen U.S. states and Mexico. Despite the theft of the laptop, no internal systems or company operations have been affected.

So far, Pinnacle Foods has stated that they haven’t seen any cases in which the data has been accessed and publicised or used by an unauthorised person. Even though this is the case, this will not assure those who have potentially had their confidential details compromised that their details will not be used by an unauthorised person.

Pinnacle Foods are trying to make contact with each person whose data resided on the stolen laptop. This includes current and previous employees and employees who applied for jobs at Pinnacles Darien. Pinnacle Foods have also given the affected people advice in how to best monitor their accounts and protect themselves against identity theft.

This latest data breach should raise questions about how secure companies across the world are keeping data. By keeping such confidential data on a laptop which can be easily removed from a person’s home or automobile  questions should be asked about the security procedures that are currently in place.

If employees need to have confidential data stored on portable devices such as laptops and tablets which are being taken offsite, you would expect that more stringent security measures are in place such as ensuring that the data is encrypted. This adds a significant layer of protection if the portable device was to fall into the wrong hands and could prove the difference of the data remaining in a secure state or being compromised and used for unlawful activities.

By all means, Pinnacle Foods aren’t the first company to suffer a data breach after a portable device was stolen. NASA have struggled with similar events over the years and only recently have they decided to encrypt all of their laptops that contain confidential data. Surely it is about time that all companies start to protect confidential data that is sat on portable devices by making sure that the data is encrypted and password protected. Supporting this, a secure and reliable backup solution should be in place so that the data can be recovered if a portable device was lost or stolen. By implementing these methods, the overall impact of a data breach incident is significantly reduced.

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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