Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:14 PM
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — More than 500 Hill Air Force Base employees had sensitive personal information compromised after another base employee improperly transmitted the information to an unprotected email address.
In early July, a base administrative employee was working with data that contained the names and Social Security numbers of hundreds of base employees.
The employee, who is not being identified by the Air Force, sent the information to a personal email account to finish work at home — a move that violated base, Air Force and Department of Defense policy.
After learning of the improper transmittal, Hill notified 525 base employees who were affected by the incident though a letter sent by John C. Cullinane, director of Hill’s 75th Force Support Squadron.
In the letter, Cullinane said, “While there is no excuse for violating this policy, I do want to assure you this was not a malicious act.”
The letter instructs the affected employees to be guided by Federal Trade Commission standards, which suggest that employees “immediately place an initial fraud alert on your credit file.”
The fraud alert is for a period of 90 days, during which, creditors are required to contact you before a new credit card is issued or an existing card changed.
“Everyone’s personal situation is unique, and they can take actions they feel are appropriate for them,” said Hill spokesman Rich Essary.
Essary said an investigation was conducted following the incident and did not indicate that any of the information had been used maliciously.
The letter said the DoD takes the loss very seriously and is reviewing its current policies to determine what can be changed to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.
Essary said recurring training will be provided, but with a special emphasis placed on following procedures for dealing with sensitive personal information.
“At a minimum, we will be providing additional training to personnel to ensure they understand that personally identifiable information must at all times be treated in a manner that preserves and protects the confidentiality of the data,” the letter said.
Essary said the employee’s supervisor has dealt with the violation.
It is unclear whether the employee’s attempt to finish work at home had anything to do with government-mandated furloughs of civilian Defense Department employees.
Nearly 11,000 civilian employees at Hill were required to take six unpaid furlough days beginning July 8, as the Pentagon deals with spending cuts for the rest of the fiscal year.
The furlough mandates essentially gave base employees one less day during the week to complete their regular workload.
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