Department of Veterans Affairs was hit on two separate occasions by breaches in
2006. 26.5 million Veterans and their families had their names, Social Security
numbers and dates of birth lifted after a laptop was swiped from an employee’s home in May. The laptop was retrieved in August and two teenagers were arrested
for the theft, claiming they were unaware the laptop contained sensitive data.
Just days after the arrest, the VA announced another computer, this time with
the personal information of 38,000 people had gone missing as well. The
sensitive information, which in both cases was unencrypted, would later lead to
a proposal for renewed reform within the department. The VA had its reputation
sullied even before the breach made headlines. Audits of the department’s IT
security practices had given the VA low and failing grades under the Federal
Information Security Management Act.