1,600 warned of potential data breach
IOWA CITY, Jun 12, 2009 (The Gazette - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
An incident at an Iowa City workforce office in early June has prompted Kirkwood Community College officials to issue an alert to about 1,600 individuals and businesses.
On June 4 an individual visiting the Skills to Employment office in southeast Iowa City took a mobile data storage device from a workforce counselor's office. The Kirkwood employee soon noticed the device was missing, and college officials immediately contacted local authorities and the individual, who then returned the item. The suspect was charged with fifth-degree theft, and Iowa City police are continuing an investigation. The device was recovered less than three hours from the time it was taken.
Computer experts examined the device but were not able to make complete assurance that the data was not compromised. Data on the device included names and Social Security numbers for some participants as well as business contact information of participant program employers of the federally funded PROMISE JOBS program.
"This was a most unfortunate situation, and we appreciate the speed of response shown by the workforce counselor and the Iowa City Police," commented Kirkwood Executive Director of Continuing Education Programming Kim Johnson. "State and local authorities have given us advice and direction for putting measures in place to help protect our clients and partner businesses. We will continue to apply these measures as long as necessary to assure there is no breach of sensitive information."
In order to assure ongoing security of the data, Kirkwood officials contacted the individuals and businesses whose records were on the data device. Online credit monitoring will be provided to impacted clients and business partners who desire the service. These services will alert users if someone tries to use their name. Kirkwood has offered to pay for a one-year credit monitoring subscription due to the potential theft of the information.
In order to better secure data in the future, Kirkwood Community College, Skills to Employment division is conducting training sessions on data security and has prohibited the use of any portable devices for client or business information. All such data will be stored only in secure networks.
All affected clients have been instructed to keep the information shared by college officials and reference the Iowa City Police Department record # 2009-28661 in the unlikely case any data becomes compromised.
Questions regarding this incident may be addressed to Kim Johnson at Kirkwood, (319) 398-5525.
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