Backups tapes a backdoor for identity thieves
Source: SecurityFocus - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security Large companies are reconsidering their security and backup policies after a handful of financial and information-technology companies have admitted that tapes holding unencrypted customer data have gone missing.

Last week, trading firm Ameritrade acknowledged that the company that handles its backup data had lost a tape containing information on about 200,000 customers. The financial firm is now revising its backup policies and, in the interim, has halted all movement of backup tapes, a spokesperson said this week.

Iron Mountain, a company that handles large corporations' data storage, also acknowledged that it had lost track of four sets of customer backup tapes since the beginning of this year. While the company points out such incidents are a tiny fraction of its nearly 5 million pick-ups and deliveries done annually, its top executive has called on clients to revamp their policies and start encrypting critical data.

"It is important to understand that unencrypted information stored on backup tapes is difficult to read, but it is not impossible," Richard Reese, chairman and CEO of the Boston-based data protection service, said in a statement issued last week. "Companies need to reassess their backup strategies and seriously consider encrypting sensitive data to prevent a potential breach of privacy."

The reconsideration of backup policies comes as the financial industry is recovering from several high-profile data leaks due to lost or stolen tapes. Bank of America told government officials in February that the company had lost a tape containing account information on a large number of government credit-card holders. A representative of Bank of America could not be reached for comment.

Read this full article at SecurityFocus

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