When you think of data breaches, you probably think of email, online shopping, or maybe even in-store credit card hacks. You’d probably never think of snail mail. But that’s exactly what thieves targeted in a recent data breach.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that the information of more than 800,000 employees was compromised in a sophisticated and targeted attack. Information taken by thieves included the dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, employment dates, and emergency contact information of employees. To mitigate the damage, the Post Service is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all affected employees.
In addition, it is now being reported that data from 2.9 million customers was also exposed, specifically, phone and email information collected from January 1 to August 15, 2014 through the USPS’s call center. USPS is advising consumers not to worry at this time, and have explained, “The intrusion is limited in scope and all operations of the Postal Service are functioning normally.”
As the Postal Service works to recover from this attack, and establish more robust protocols, it has removed the virtual private network for postal employees until further notice.
At the end of the day, the most important thing we can take from this is that we all must be diligent about monitoring our credit reports and online activity. Be vigilant about limiting who you provide your personal information to and always maintain proper protocols such as creating a unique password or using password-protected WiFi, and be sure to keep tabs on your accounts.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Shannon.