Some 2,300 individuals have been notified that they might become victims of identity thieves after a laptop and a personal hard drive belonging to an undercover officer of a Seattle sheriff’s office has been stolen from her truck.
According to Komo News, the stolen devices contain unencrypted sensitive information such as social security numbers (SSNs), drivers license numbers, and case files containing personal information about crime victims, suspects, witnesses and police officers.
The incident was revealed to the potential victims via a letter on Friday.
According to a detective with the Sheriff’s office, the notification letters were not sent immediately because it took them a while to discern whose information was compromised. “Somebody had to go through and read everything and cull out all of that information,” she said.
She also confirmed that this was not the first time they’ve experienced such data loss, but that it was definitely the worst instance so far.
For all of us wondering why they haven’t then already enforced encryption to prevent access to the stored data, she added that they were, in fact, currently adding encryption software to all the computers belonging to the office.
Still, it is a process that takes some time, and as luck would have it, they haven’t yet managed to do it on all the computers. Unfortunately, the stolen one belonged to the 40 percent that haven’t yet been equipped with the encryption software.
The detective whose device got stolen is facing disciplinary action.