[ISN] Personal information taken in Nevada DMV office break-in

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Mon Mar 14 2005 - 01:41:40 PST


March 11, 2005 

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - Personal information from more than 8,900
people was stolen when thieves broke into a Nevada Department of Motor
Vehicles office, officials said Friday.

A computer taken during the break-in contained names, ages, dates of
birth, Social Security numbers, photographs and signatures of southern
Nevada residents who obtained driver's licenses between Nov. 25 and
March 4 at the North Las Vegas office, state DMV chief Ginny Lewis

"The state is extremely sorry that this has happened," Lewis said.  
"Those motorists whose data was on that computer need to know their
personal information has been compromised."

The DMV had previously maintained that the information on the computer
stolen in Monday's break-in was encrypted, making it virtually useless
to thieves.

But Lewis said Friday that Digimarc Corp., the Beaverton, Ore.,-based
company that provides digital driver's licenses in Nevada, told her
Thursday the information was not encrypted, and was readily

Miz Nakajima, Digimarc spokeswoman, said Friday she could not comment
on specifics about state DMV customers or the Nevada theft. The
publicly traded company provides a service Nakajima called "digital
watermarking" to motor vehicle departments in 34 states and the
District of Columbia.

All 21 Nevada DMV licensing stations around the state were ordered by
the end of the day Friday to remove personal information from
computers to prevent a recurrence, Lewis said.

The Nevada DMV planned to send certified letters by next week
informing the 8,900 drivers who obtained licenses at the Donovan Way
office in North Las Vegas that their personal information was in the
hands of thieves.

The licenses of each motorist will be canceled and a new license will
be issued with new identification numbers, Lewis said during a news
conference outside the office at the end of a remote industrial road
wedged between Interstate 15 and the Union Pacific railroad tracks.

Paul Masto, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret
Service office in Las Vegas, said the agency was investigating. He
urged those affected to take precautions against identity theft.

"That's the juicy stuff - the dates of birth, the Social Security
numbers," Masto said. "They have that information. There's nothing we
can do about that."

The Nevada DMV data theft comes after personal information was stolen
from a database owned by the information broker LexisNexis and from
the giant data broker ChoicePoint Inc. Another data loss affected some
1.2 million federal employees with Bank of America charge cards.

North Las Vegas police were following several leads in the DMV case,
department spokesman Officer Tim Bedwell said. He said the initial
investigation was hampered by the lack of video surveillance.

Lewis said she was seeking federal and state funds to install cameras
at DMV offices throughout Nevada.

Police said thieves smashed a vehicle through a back wall of the
office and escaped before police arrived a half-hour later.

In addition to the computer, thieves took a camera, 1,700 license
blanks and laminated plastic covers bearing the embossed state seal.

Authorities said the equipment could be used to manufacture licenses
virtually indistinguishable from legitimate Nevada driver's licenses.

The state's top homeland security adviser said he notified federal
Homeland Security officials about the break-in.


On the Net:  Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles:

Bellua Cyber Security Asia 2005 -

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