IBM Loses Tapes With Retired Employee Data


The tapes were lost Feb. 23 while being transported between IBM offices by a third-party vendor, IBM spokesman Fred McNeese said. He declined to name the vendor.

The tapes contained human resources information such as employee social security numbers, dates of birth, and start and end dates, according to McNeese. Some of the tapes were encrypted and some weren't, he said.

In addition, the tapes contained credit card data involving some customer accounts, but they didn't include sensitive information such as bank account numbers that could be used to commit identity theft, McNeese said.

"IBM investigated the incident thoroughly and concluded that the loss was inadvertent," he said.

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McNeese declined to say how many tapes were lost and how many former employees could be affected by the breach.

"We simply do not know what happened to these tapes, and we don't want to provide anyone with any more information they should have concerning the tapes," he said.

There's no indication that that any of the personal information has been accessed or used to commit fraud, and the tapes are not the type that can be read by a PC, McNeese said.

As a precautionary measure, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is offering former employees affected by the breach a free year of credit monitoring service, he added.