Nuclear Scientists’ Data Stolen

A computer hacker has stolen the names and personal information of over 1,500 nuclear scientists.

A computer hacker stole a file containing the names and Social Security numbers of 1,500 people working for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons agency.

Officials told a congressional hearing Friday that the department’s senior managers were informed only two days ago of last September’s incident, which was somewhat similar to recent problems at the Veterans Affairs Department. None of the victims was notified, they said.

The data theft occurred in a computer system at a service center belonging to the National Nuclear Security Administration in New Mexico. The file contained information about contract workers throughout the agency’s nuclear weapons complex, a department spokesman said.


[National Nuclear Security Administrator] Brooks said the file contained names, Social Security numbers, date-of-birth information, a code where the employees worked and codes showing their security clearances. A majority of the individuals worked for contractors and the list was compiled as part of their security clearance processing, he said.

Really, between this and the recent theft of a the Veteran’s Affairs Department, it’s a wonder that hackers just don’t go straight for the Social Security Administraiton itself. They might as well. It’s clear that the federal government doesn’t take privacy or the security of personal information very seriously.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.