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National Guard Breach Highlights Risks

The National Guard Bureau recently reported an accidental data exposure that affected 868,000 current and former employees.

A mistake in the transfer of files containing personally identifiable information into a non-approved Department of Defense (DoD)

environment forced the NGB to investigate and inform the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The investigation of the breach began back in December 2014 and revealed the breach was not a result of malicious actions and that the incident had no relation to the recent Office of Personnel Management breach.

According to their announcement, data files containing individuals' names, home addresses, social security numbers and dates of birth were obtained. An FAQ on the National Guard Website said guard members that served anytime since 2004 were affected.

All personal data within the organisation is required to be encrypted, however according to public affairs specialist at NGB, Kurt Raushenburg, this information was not. He believes that, although it was a breach, it was more an example of poor security policy.

He said: "The information transferred was being analysed for budget forecasts by National Guard Bureau analysts.

"At the time of the transfer, the data was downloaded to a server off-site from the National Guard Bureau."

According to Verizon's 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, 50,315 security incidents have occurred in the public sector in the past year, proving security breaches in the government are not a new thing.

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