New evidence Friday night of yet another risk faced by our nation’s veterans, theft of their most personal information.
A new report out by the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General shows complaints of information being sent over unsecured telecommunications carriers are valid.
Our national correspondent kristine frazao teamed up with the washington guardian to take a deeper look into the findings of the report.
It’s been about 45 years since Dick Johnson has set foot on the battlefield, but his paperwork still piles up.
“You have a veterans file from let’s say Iraq, it will be six inches,” Johnson stated. “You have a veteran from Vietnam’s file that could be three feet.
But for many veterans, their paperwork is measured not by inches but by megabytes
A report by the VA Office of Inspector General found the VA has been transmitting sensitive data over an unencrypted network, including electronic health records and other personal information.
“Information like they’re names, date of birth, social security numbers and private medical information,” commented Washington Guardian’s Phillip Swarts.
“The investigation targeted the VA Midwest Health Care Network, which oversees veterans in 10 states around this country,” Swarts commented. “The bottom line here, more than 400,000 veterans could be at risk.”
“I think the VA in Washington should wake up a little bit,” Johnson told us. “Cyberwarfare is a reality, hacking is happening.”
Johnson himself recently had his identity stolen
“A bank in Las Vegas, Nevada said I charged $10,876.18,” Johnson stated. “I said I’ve never even been to Las Vegas.”
He worries for the fate of other veterans and says he’s just not taking any chances.
“My friends and I have started using priority mail,” Johnson commented. “We’re backing off of the computer because we’re so worried about the hacker.”
Yet another reminder of the vulnerability of veterans everywhere.
While the target of this particular investigation was the VA Midwest Healthcare Network, it’s common for VA offices to share information and in some cases, responsibilities as well.
Veterans nationwide are urged to keep a close eye on their personal information. As tens of millions of cases of identity theft just in the military community have been reported.
There’s more to this story and you can read about it by going to the Washington Guardian link.