The FBI announced on Thursday that it had recovered both the laptop and hard drive, along with data on 26.5 million U.S. veterans, stolen from the residence of an employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Initial forensics analysis of the devices indicated that the data has not been accessed, the FBI said in a statement. The law enforcement agency made the hunt for the laptop a top priority as it contained names, birth dates and social security numbers of every U.S. veteran, a group that accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. It appears that fears that the data might be sold can be dismissed.
"A preliminary review of the equipment by computer forensic teams determined that the database remains intact and has not been accessed since it was stolen," the FBI said in the statement. "A thorough forensic examination is underway, and the results will be shared as soon as possible. The investigation is ongoing."
Last month the Department of Veterans Affairs warned that a laptop and external hard drive had been stolen from an employee's home on May 3. The devices contained a database with the personal details of nearly 26.5 million veterans, and contained information on about 2.2 million active-duty soldiers. The VA theft and other incidents led the Bush Administration to mandate that federal agencies deploy better security to protect mobile devices with sensitive data.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has maintained that there have been no incidents of identity theft following the laptop and hard-drive theft. The devices were turned into authorities and no suspects are currently in custody, according to an Associated Press report.
Posted by: Robert Lemos