VA to analyze breached data

The Veterans Affairs Department has contracted with ID Analytics Inc. of San Diego to provide data breach analysis to ensure that information contained on computer equipment stolen in May from a VA employee's home and later recovered was not compromised.

ID Analytics will conduct the analysis across multiple industries to detect patterns of misuse and determine whether there is any suspicious activity related to this computer equipment theft. The company will provide VA an initial analysis and continue to offer its assessments on a quarterly basis, said VA secretary James Nicholson.

'Data breach analysis will provide VA with additional assurances that veterans' personal information remains unharmed,' he said in a statement.

Separately, veterans affected by the latest data theft, in which a desktop computer went missing last week from the offices of a subcontractor, Unisys Corp., will receive two letters later this week. One will notify them of the theft, and the other will explain how to sign up for credit monitoring, which Unisys will provide, VA spokesman Matt Burns said.

In the earlier data theft, the FBI has indicated it is highly confident that the data stored on the recovered computer equipment was not accessed or compromised. Montgomery County, Md., police arrested two men last week for the theft. The men did not specifically target the computer equipment, according to law enforcement authorities.

Prior to the arrests, VA said that out of an abundance of caution and to further safeguard the recovered information, the department would conduct data breach analysis.

ID Analytics' real-time system comprises more than three billion identity elements contributed by its members, which include the largest U.S. industry leaders from across the credit card, wireless telecommunications and instant lending industries.

Nicholson reiterated VA's commitment to improving the department's IT and cybersecurity policies and procedures.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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