Laptop theft leaves 33,000 airline passengers compromised

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The personal information of 33,000 air travelers who enrolled in a program to speed up their check-in process has been compromised because of a laptop theft at San Francisco International Airport.

The stolen computer belonged to Verified Identity Pass, which offers speedy check-in services for $128 the first year. The company has more than 200,000 clients and operates at 17 airports in the U.S. It has begun notifying the customers whose information was stolen and a police investigation is under way.

The laptops contained all the applicants' names, addresses and birth dates, as well as drivers' license, passport or alien registration numbers for some. That information was not encrypted on the computer, the way credit-card, Social Security and biometric information is. However, Verified Identity Pass says the computer has "two levels" of password protection.

No credit-card numbers, Social Security numbers or biometric information were stored on the laptop, which had been stored in a locked office. Security cameras did not pick up on the thieves. Verified Identity Pass says it offers a "no-strings-attached" warranty for those whose information is used by the thieves to open new accounts or access their financial information.

We have now taken additional security measures ... including encrypting [the data], which we should have done from the beginning," CEO Steve Brill said in a statement.

Source: The


Reports indicate a laptop is stolen every 12 seconds.

If your concerned your laptop could be next, you might want to consider a product that not only tracks the whereabouts of the stolen laptop, but once connected to the Internet, the software silently retrieves, and then deletes, files from machine and returns the data to the rightful owner. See earlier blog:
Laptop Theft on the Rise: GPS for laptops

For more info on recent laptop thefts search this blog's archive.

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