An opportunistic thief stole unencrypted Facebook hard drives

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 13, 2019, 6:05 pm CST
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An opportunistic thief stole unencrypted Facebook hard drives

A thief managed to steal the personal banking information belonging to 29,000 Facebook employees, the company has revealed, in an incident that took place last month. This data theft didn’t involve hacking into Facebook’s system but rather was the result of a person who stole several unencrypted hard drives from a Facebook worker’s vehicle. The company alerted its employees in an email sent out on Friday.

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Though most data theft involves hacking, it isn’t unheard of for a lost or stolen hard drive to put private information in the wrong hands.

This issue has impacted private companies and government agencies alike; in some cases, the data is lost when a laptop is taken from a vehicle, while other times someone loses a portable hard drive while traveling.

In this latest instance, Bloomberg reports that an individual stole multiple unencrypted hard drives from a Facebook employee’s vehicle. The data on the drives includes bank account numbers, the workers’ names, and only the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, as well as private details like how much the employees are paid.

None of the drives contained information related to Facebook users, according to the company, which has faced numerous concerns over past years regarding its handling of user data. A company spokesperson told Bloomberg that the theft was likely a ‘smash and grab crime’ and not a direct effort to steal data.


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