The Army National Guard officially announced that it suffered a data breach that might have put former and current members’ sensitive information at risk.
In a statement on its website, the Army National Guard claims that this incident is unrelated to the recent data breach at the Office of Personnel Management. In fact, this data breach has been confirmed to not be the result of a cyberattack, but instead what appears to be negligence.
“All current and former Army National Guard members since 2004 could be affected by this breach because files containing personal information was inadvertently transferred to a non-DoD-accredited data center by a contract employee,” stated Maj. Earl Brown, the spokesman for the National Guard Bureau. “The National Guard Bureau takes the control of personal information very seriously,” Brown said. “After investigating the circumstances of these actions, and the information that was transferred, the Guard has determined, out of an abundance of caution, to inform current and past Guard personnel that their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) was among the files that were transferred,” he added.
The information supposedly included in the compromised data includes soldiers’ full names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and home addresses. According to Brown, “the issue was identified and promptly reported” and the organization does “not believe the data will be used unlawfully.” He points out that “this was not a hacking incident, in which the intent was to use data for financial gain. Nonetheless, the Guard believes that individuals potentially affected need to know about the breach and what actions they can take to protect themselves from potential identity theft.”
To assist any victims who were potentially affected by this breach, the National Guard has set up a website and a hotline (877-276-4729) that will provide information on detecting/reporting/preventing suspicious activity or identity theft.