Data breach at US Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suffered a “privacy incident” involving a database with personal information on nearly a quarter million people employed by DHS during 2014. This breach also affects an unspecified number of people who were associated with DHS investigations between 2002 and 2014. This latter group includes the subjects, witnesses, and complainants of DHS investigations.

DHS says that this wasn’t the result of a cyber attack. Sounds like a former DHS employee helped themselves to a personal copy of this database. This database contains names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and other information useful for identity theft. It isn’t clear how far this information was disseminated.

So if you think you may be affected by this data breach, click the above link for information about enrolling in 18 months of free credit monitoring. And if you’re an author with a character who wants secret information about a company or organization, have your character start running phishing attempts against current and former employees of the company/organization. She might identify these employees by running searches in social media sites like LinkedIn. Gaining access to an employee’s personal computer or Dropbox account might be very fruitful, because there’s no telling what that employee might have taken home with him.