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Missing laptop with data on 540,000 N.Y. state workers found

The computer had been missing since May 9

By Todd R. Weiss
July 26, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - A laptop computer containing personal information on more than half a million New York state workers has been found after it disappeared May 9 from the offices of a third-party data management company.

In a statement today, the company -- Chicago-based CS Stars -- said the laptop belonging to the New York Special Funds Conservation Committee "has been found and secured."

Al Modugno, a spokesman for CS Stars, said he was notified today of the laptop's recovery, though he would not comment further on whether it had been lost or stolen, adding that the incident is still being probed by law enforcement authorities.

"That's part of what the FBI is still investigating," Modugno said. "I can't really give you any more detail on that."

Modugno said the FBI told CS Stars that the agency is reasonably certain that there was no improper use of any of the data stored on the laptop. The FBI has the laptop and is still analyzing it, he said.

The laptop contains the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of about 540,000 state employees.

The New York Special Funds Conservation Committee is a nonprofit organization that deals with special funds related to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.

John Sullivan, a spokesman for the board, today said his agency had been notified that the laptop was found.

Last week, CS Stars mailed letters to the 540,000 people whose data might have been affected by the incident, according to the company. Each of the affected workers was offered credit-monitoring services for 12 months and $25,000 in identity theft insurance, Modugno said.

The delay between the disappearance of the laptop on May 9 and the mailing of the letters last week occurred because the CS Stars employee who determined that the laptop was missing didn't report it to his company until June 19, Modugno said. An internal investigation verified that the machine was missing, then the state agency was notified of the problem on June 29, he said.

The FBI was notified the following day.

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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