[ISN] UCLA laptop theft exposes ID info

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 03:20:01 PDT

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    By David Becker 
    CNET News.com
    June 10, 2004
    Representatives of the University of California, Los Angeles, are 
    warning 145,000 blood donors they could be at risk for identity theft 
    due to a stolen university laptop. 
    UCLA's Blood and Platelet Center included the advisory in a letter 
    sent last week to all who donated blood through the organization. 
    Thieves broke into a locked van last November and grabbed a laptop 
    with a database that includes names, birth dates and Social Security 
    numbers for all blood donors, according to a university statement. The 
    database did not include medical information other than blood type, 
    according to the statement, and university officials did not recognize 
    the significance of the loss and the potential for identity theft 
    until the matter came up in a security audit last month. 
    "We deeply regret any inconvenience this incident may cause our blood 
    donors," Dr. Priscilla I. Figueroa, director of the university's 
    Division of Transfusion Medicine, said in the statement. "We hope and 
    trust that they will continue participating in our blood drives and 
    making these lifesaving donations." 
    The database was password-protected but not encrypted, according to 
    the statement, which said the university was reviewing data security 
    policies in light of the incident. 
    Los Angeles police are investigating the theft, according to the 
    university, and there is no evidence yet that information in the 
    database has been retrieved or misused. 
    University representatives said in a follow-up statement that a second 
    laptop was stolen two weeks ago from the financial office of the 
    University's health care division, putting personal information for an 
    additional 62,000 patients at risk. 
    Widespread use of laptops has presented an increasing risk for 
    security theft, with lost or stolen devices potentially exposing data 
    ranging from FBI secrets to tax records in recent years. 
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