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Breach in Pennsylvania Welfare Agency

The DPW decided to send mail to around 375,000 people informing them about a security breach, which has their private information. This notification was declared on September 11, 2007 after the theft of 2 PCs from the office of DPW in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The spokeswoman of Department, Stacey Witalec, said that the theft came into light on August 22, 2007 and that it had taken place in night. Stacey Witalec informed that the PCs contained private information like names, social security numbers etc of 1,819 residents who were receiving mental health care through the State's medical assistance program. Further, Capitol Police is looking into the case of security breach, as per the news published by Philly on September 12, 2007.

But, as per the statement made by DPW, the information on the stolen PC has been saved by various passwords and didn't recognize individuals by their names.

Further, DPW also said that they have begun to send notification mails to almost 375,000 people in the behavioral health system, explaining them about the incident and cautioning them that they might be affected, and finally providing all kinds of security to them, as per the reports by Computerworld on September 12, 2007.

Public Welfare Secretary, Estelle B. Richman, said that the department was adopting all kinds of precautions to avoid this kind of incident in future. It was further added that the department was really working hard with the local and state authorities and community partners to provide help to those who were affected, as per the news by Philly on September 12, 2007.

This incident is one of the latest incidents of breach involving several companies as well as state and federal government agencies in last months. For example, in the last week of August 2007 and in the first week of September 2007, there had been reports of three cases involving the compromise of private data because of system thefts.

In late August, the Connecticut Department of revenue services revealed that a laptop containing personal information about 105,000 taxpayers had been disclosed. Another incident involved same kind of unprotected laptop at the Maryland Department of the Environment. Regarding the compromise of AT&T, no details were disclosed about the number of people who might have been affected by that theft.

Related article: Breach of Data at Nature Conservancy

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