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Breach of Data at Nature Conservancy

A hacker who illegally intruded into a computer system of The Nature Conservancy damaged personal information relating to nearly 14,000 members, including former and current employees.

The conservation group based in Arlington confirmed via e-mail to its employees that the hacker managed to infiltrate the system using a Website sometime in the second week of September 2007.

Jim Petterson, spokesman of The Nature Conservancy, said that when the organization's members visited a certain Website, the site installed a malicious program on their systems that recorded the hard drive contents and transferred the data to the remote hacker.

The seized information contained names, birth dates, home addresses, and Social Security numbers of former and current employees. Some of the former employees had been on job at The Nature Conservancy spanning the seven years from 2001 to 2007. The stolen data also contained bank account numbers relating to direct deposits for those employees who received salary during 2000 to 2004, and Social Security numbers of the dependants of those employees.

The e-mail to the employees came from Jean-Louis Ecochard, CIO of the conservancy group on September 25, 2007. It said that the company regarded the issue of the theft seriously, for it exposed the affected employees to dangers of identity fraud. The company sent out a warning letter on September 21, 2007 to all former employees at their last recorded addresses.

The Conservancy's employees in Arkansas situated in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Batesville, Arkadelphia and Ponca are mainly scientists and researchers, said spokesman Jay Harrod representing Little Rock office of The Conservancy. NWANews published this on October 2, 2007.

The organization's e-mail has reassured the employees who are but naturally concerned about the hack. There is no report as yet about a theft-related problem, like an illegal withdrawal of money from an employee's account or creation of a fake credit card, Petterson and Harrod said.

The Founder of the group, Linda Foley, said that the theft at the Conservancy was a case of 'moderate size'. NWANews published this. Foley added that there might not be any intention on the part of the hacker to commit identity fraud with the data.

Related article: Breach in Pennsylvania Welfare Agency

ยป SPAMfighter News - 16-10-2007

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