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Published: 6/17/2007

Ohio expandslist of data onstolen device

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS Information about thousands of teachers, vendors, school districts, and local governments that conduct electronic transactions with the state are on a backup computer storage device stolen from the car of a state agency intern, Gov. Ted Strickland said yesterday.

Mr. Strickland announced Friday that the device was missing. It also contains the names and Social Security numbers of all 64,000 state employees.

The governor again said that he has no reason to believe the information which can be used to steal from people by taking their identity has been compromised because accessing it requires special equipment and expertise. He also has issued an executive order to change the procedures for handling state data.

The latest files discovered to be missing include 2,685 records of school district and local government names and bank account information; 159,708 records of Medicaid providers and their bank account information the state is assuming it includes all providers; and the names and account numbers of 1,031 state employees who are teachers in the State Teachers Retirement System, the governor s office said.

Mr. Strickland outlined the latest details at a news conference yesterday.

His staff confirmed the storage device also held information on 53,797 participants enrolled in the state s pharmacy benefits management program, as well as names and Social Security numbers of about 75,532 dependents a finding the governor s office first warned of Friday.

Obviously, I feel badly this has happened, on a human level. As an executive, I m trying to be transparent and we re looking for ways to mitigate any harm. I remain hopeful there will be no breach of private information, Mr. Strickland said.

The device listed in a police report from suburban Hilliard as being worth $15 was reported stolen along with a $200 radar detector, out of the car of 22-year-old Jared Ilovar, a college senior making $10.50 an hour in his state job.

Mr. Ilovar is an intern with the Office of Management and Budget assigned to work on the state s $158 million payroll and accounting system. Telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment were left for Mr. Ilovar.

Mr. Strickland said he was not allowed to specifically describe the computer device, or other details about the theft, under direction from law enforcement investigating the theft.

He said Mr. Ilovar mistakenly left the device in a vehicle parked outside an apartment when it was supposed to be taken into his home as part of a protocol in place since 2002.

The police report indicates the device was stolen Sunday night or early Monday morning.

The police report listed the device as a computer tape, but officials said it is more accurately described as a storage device. Similar devices, such as an external hard drive, are smaller than a laptop computer and can store large amounts of information that can be encrypted.

Mr. Strickland warned that more findings of compromised records could be announced in the next several days.

Friday s revelation came after a data review team scanned computer records using a keyword search program that looked for sensitive information.

The team has been manually going through computer directories, clicking on each file and subfile to determine what other information was copied to the device, State Budget Director Pari Sabety said.

That method is how the data team discovered the records that Mr. Strickland talked about yesterday, she said.

This work is laborious, the governor said.

It will not be completed today and it may not be completed by tomorrow.

His staff scheduled another press conference for today, the third day in a row the governor will have spoken about the data theft issue.



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