Big Blue’s Transport Partner Loses Employee Data
May 21, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
This is a bit embarrassing for a security-conscious vendor like IBM, but according to a letter that the company sent out to employees last week, data tapes containing information on IBM’s own employees were lost in transport to an archiving facility in late February.
According to the letter, which was sent to IT Jungle by an anonymous source and written by Barbara Brickmeier, vice president of human resources at the company, the IBM tapes were lost by accident and were not stolen, and assured employees that while the data included on the tapes included Social Security numbers, it was in a format that was unreadable on a PC. (So, it seems it was EBCDIC data from a System z mainframe, or possibly a System i box.)
To demonstrate that it was serious about employee data security, employees were sent a package to subscribe to identity theft and credit monitoring services from Kroll, which would seem to suggest that IBM is not just worried about employee data on the tapes, but what might happen in the future if IBM Credit Union data slipped into the wrong hands. Considering that the data on the tapes, which fell off a truck in New York, were related to former IBMers for the most part, being enrolled in the Kroll security program doesn’t really do much to help them if someone can find a way to make use of the lost data.