Data loss hits TD Bank – 267,000 customers affected

Oct 2012

Data loss hits TD Bank – 267,000 customers affected

Posted by Zaid Rasid

Bank BreachIt's happened again – backup tapes have gone missing.  A story we've mentioned too often here at Asigra. In fact, we've documented numerous cases of organizations who have lost customer data due to backup tapes that have either gone missing or have been stolen, which you can find here, here, here, here and here.

The Morning Sentinel reports that over 267,000 TD Bank customers were affected by a data loss that occurred when two backup tapes went missing.

Some important points to consider from the article

  • The tapes were unencrypted which means anyone can access the data found on the tapes
  • Data on the tapes could potentially include: customer names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, social security numbers and driver's licenses
  • It took TD Bank 6 months to report the incident to the attorney general in affected states

An interesting point made in the article is by attorney Dan Mitchell, a member of the data security practice for law firm Bernstein Shur, who claims that such data losses don't occur often. But if you look at the numerous examples that we have cited on our own blog, and you look at the sheer total amount of records lost, it's hard to believe that lost data backup tapes are a rare occurrence.

This incident also highlights the need for customers to begin asking questions of their own banks on how their data is stored. Although many states have current regulations in place that ensure banks and other institutions report data breaches or lost customer information, we wonder whether customers themselves should begin discussions with bank managers or companies and find out exactly how their data is being stored, backed up and transported.

Of course, we have iterated numerous times that there are advantages in replacing a tape backup solution with a cloud backup solution. For instance, in the cloud, you can remove the human intervention required with tapes, such as transporting tapes from one location to another, thus preventing any chance of lost, missing or stolen data. Also, tape data has been known to degrade over time and there have been cases where old data on tapes was not recoverable. With cloud backup, your data is transferred safely. Asigra Cloud Backup ensures that your data is encrypted at both rest and in flight using stringent FIPS 140-2 certification, a requirement in compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"The loss of these tapes potentially puts the personal information of thousands of Massachusetts consumers at risk, and we remind consumers to take appropriate steps to protect themselves," Coakley said. "We will be reviewing the circumstances of this breach and the steps that TD Bank is taking to address the loss."

Spice IT Email Post

All I can I say is: Thank

All I can I say is: Thank goodness I don't live in Mass. I'm a TD Customer, and I'll be asking about how my data is stored when it comes to backups.

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