In early July, a Texas man was arrested for allegedly filing more than 160 false tax returns using the Social Security numbers of University of California–Irvine graduate students. The Social Security numbers were reportedly stolen while the man worked for the Student Resources Department of United HealthCare Services, Inc.
In June, a California man was sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison after he was found guilty of hacking into the protected computer system of his former employer, Council of Community Clinics, multiple times, disabling the backup system and deleting files. (He was angry after receiving a negative performance review.) His actions destroyed personal medical records of patients, putting their lives at risk.
This spring, online mortgage loan marketplace Lending Tree, LLC sent a letter to its customers to inform them of a possible data breach caused by former employees providing passwords and access to personal information to other mortgage lenders.
Even members of the Supreme Court aren’t safe from identity theft: Justice Stephen Breyer’s personal information was made public when someone in an investment firm used peer-to-peer networking and inadvertently provided a gateway to a database. The breach wasn’t discovered for 6 months.
Troubling as they are, these stories are just a few of what seems like a never-ending list of companies experiencing data breaches, which can lead to the theft of information ranging from a customer’s Social Security number to a corporation’s secret designs for a new product.