[ISN] $100K Reward for Stolen ID Data

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 02 2003 - 22:29:51 PST

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    Jan. 02, 2003 
    PHOENIX -- A government contractor posted a $100,000 reward Tuesday in
    the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal records of
    500,000 military service members and their families in 16 states.
    The theft of computer hard drives from TriWest Healthcare Alliance
    could turn into one of the largest identity thefts on record if the
    information is misused, the Federal Trade Commission said.
    On Tuesday, prosecutors and TriWest jointly announced the reward for
    information leading to the arrest and conviction of thieves who broke
    into Phoenix-based TriWest's office Dec. 14 and stole the equipment.
    The theft came as the Defense Department is working to computerize the
    medical records of all military personnel.
    The stolen computers have no connection to the larger project, but
    Pentagon officials are "going to learn from this issue and do what's
    necessary" to protect sensitive information, spokesman Jim Turner
    The stolen hard drives contained names, addresses, phone numbers,
    medical claim histories and Social Security numbers.
    TriWest provides managed health care to about 1.1 million active-duty
    personnel, their dependents and retirees in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho,
    Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New
    Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and western Texas.
    David McIntyre Jr., TriWest's chief executive officer, said there is
    no indication that any client information has been misused.
    U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton said there is nothing to indicate the
    crime was tied to terrorism, and that the information could not be
    used to get into secure military areas.
    McIntyre declined comment on the company's security other than to say
    it has improved since the break-in. The theft hasn't disrupted
    TriWest's operations, he said.
    The Pentagon is building a network to computerize the entire military
    health care system, including patient records of 8.7 million service
    members, retirees and their families who receive medical care under
    Pentagon programs.
    The Pentagon is planning to roll out the project at up to seven
    military hospitals across the nation after successfully testing the
    concept at four locations. The system eventually will be expanded
    The Defense Department said the system will give health care
    professionals quick and easy access to patient records, but privacy
    experts say it could make identity theft easier.
    The Pentagon recently received an "F" grade for its computer security
    from a House Government Reform subcommittee. The report did not take
    into account the unfinished computer project.
    For more information on the theft at TriWest, enrollees can call the
    company toll-free at (888) 339-9378, e-mail computertheftat_private
    or visit TriWest's website.
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