Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York Police Department loses 80,000 records - - 6 Mar 09

A recent offline data breach may have put tens of thousands of New York City police officers at risk of identity theft.

According to local media reports, a man has been arrested and charged with illegally entering a data warehouse in the borough of Staten Island and stealing an unencrypted storage cassette belonging to the department's pension fund office.

The tape was believed to contain the names, social security numbers and banking information for as many as 80,000 current and former members of the New York Police Department.

Police have arrested 46-year old Anthony Bonelli, and charged him with felony counts of burglary and larceny, along with computer trespassing charges. Bonelli is said to have worked for the fund as a communications director.

The New York Post reports that Bonelli is thought to have used an invalid ID card to bypass a security guard, and then manually disabled security cameras before stealing the tape.

The department is said to be notifying all those who may have been put at risk by the breach.

The loss links the New York Police Department with its UK counterparts in the dubious ranks of departments hit by recent data breaches.

Last September, the West Midlands police department lost potentially sensitive data when an officer misplaced a USB memory stick. In March, police in Hertfordshire put hundreds of thousands of pages of criminal records at risk when a removable drive was lost by officers and later found by a civilian outside a local betting shop.

By Shaun Nichols

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