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Security & privacy

Massive Homeland Security breach affects 240,000 people, including witnesses

Equifax’s data breach this past year was one of the biggest in history that leaked the most sensitive data for almost half of the U.S. population. Because of it, some people are calling to replace their Social Security Numbers.

It has changed the way we think about how companies protect our data. People are enraged how Equifax responded and how lazy they were with securing our data. A simple patch that they knew about would have prevented it!

And now, another leak from 2017 has been confirmed.

Homeland Security took seven months to disclose breach

The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed a data breach has affected over 240,000 current and former employees. On top of that, investigation materials were also put at risk that included subjects, witnesses, and interviewees.

DHS just confirmed the leak but said it became aware of it in May 2017. That was seven months ago! They claim it took so long because it was complex and tied to a separate criminal investigation.

The data was not taken in a cyberattack, but found in the possession of a former DHS employee during that criminal investigation.

What was taken

The 240,000 DHS employees who were affected had some of their most sensitive private data compromised. It includes their pay grades and duty stations on top of their names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.

That information is exactly what criminals need to steal someone’s identity. But there is also another scary part to this story. The non-employees, some of them witnesses, have been outed.

Their names, Social Security numbers, alien registration numbers, email, phone, residential addresses and any info they provided in interviews were compromised. DHS does very sensitive work and this info could put employees and those witnesses at risk.

There is an ongoing push to make sure companies are held accountable for data breaches and securing our data. But holding the government to the same standard could be a lot harder.

Keep secrets with these clever privacy gadgets

These days, when we talk about protecting yourself, cybersecurity is the first thing that comes to mind. There’s a good reason for that. We tell you every day about data breaches, Facebook scams, ransomware attacks and worse. But what about your offline info? Here’s how to protect your other data.

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