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Sep-09-2011 15:57printcomments

Information Breach Affects 62 Employees and Individuals with Oregon's Transportation Dept.

"We apologize" - Clyde Saiki, ODOT Deputy Director, Central Services

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(SALEM, Ore.) - ODOT executives apologized to 62 current and former employees and individuals who worked with ODOT's environmental programs, after learning of a data security breach that involved individuals' personal information, including names and social security numbers.

On August 26, 2011, a citizen e-mailed Ask ODOT and suggested that a file buried deep in the ODOT file transfer protocol site contained what looked like encoded social security numbers. An FTP site is used to transfer large files to internal and external users. ODOT Information Systems experts immediately removed the file and investigated. They determined that the file contained names and encoded social security numbers for 62 individuals working with ODOT's environmental programs. No other people were affected; only one file (out of more than 11,000) contained such information. While experts could not determine when the file was uploaded, they say the worst-case scenario is that the information possibly could have been online since 2002. Social security numbers were once routinely used as identification numbers; ODOT no longer follows that practice.

"We apologize," said Clyde Saiki, ODOT Deputy Director, Central Services. "Placing a file containing personally identifiable information in a public location violates state and agency policy. We believe the file was placed there in error. We are asking all managers to review ODOT information security and records retention policies and procedures with their staff to reduce the possibility that this could happen again."

Saiki signed a letter to the affected individuals explaining preventative measures they can take to help detect any possible misuse of their information, including closely monitoring their financial accounts and requesting free credit reports from credit reporting agencies.

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