DOE Working with Authorities on Hard Drive Theft- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, February 15, 2008
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-223-1902 (cell)

DOE Working with Authorities on Hard Drive Theft

MALDEN - Department of Education authorities have notified the Attorney General's Cybercrime Unit and the State and Malden Police regarding the theft of a hard drive taken from a computer at the Department earlier this week.

The hard drive contained business records, including files related to fiscal audits of the Department and various other programs. Nothing else was taken, and there was no sign of forced entry into the building. DOE officials were unaware the hard drive had been taken until the employee returned to work on Tuesday and was unable to turn on his computer.

Among the thousands of records on the hard drive were small files containing the Social Security numbers of 263 people that had been randomly selected as part of payroll and administrative audits. The people affected include current and former Department employees, teachers, and consultants.

Although there is no indication that the hard drive was taken specifically to access the Social Security numbers, Department officials quickly notified state authorities and the 263 individuals of the data breach, in accordance with state law.

Current employees were notified in person and in writing on Friday, and letters were sent by overnight mail to all of the other people. All of the individuals notified were advised about their rights under the state's Identity Theft Act enacted in 2007.

Last Updated: February 15, 2008

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