Unfortunately, that includes the Department of Veterans Affairs, which recently disclosed that a hacker successfully breached their system and made off with personal information belonging to more than 46,000 veterans served by the department.
According to the official breach notification, the hackers utilized social engineering techniques and exploited the authentication protocol to gain access to the VA’s Financial Services Center App (FSC). From there, they began to divert VA payments intended to go to healthcare providers for medical treatment. In addition to that, a spokesman for the VA says that there is evidence that the personal information contained in the veterans’ patient records was compromised.
A press release on the subject reads in part, as follows:
“To protect these Veterans, the FSC is alerting the affected individuals, including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased, of the potential risk to their personal information. The department is also offering access to credit monitoring services, at no cost, to those whose social security numbers may have been compromised.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first time the VA has been breached. The first incident actually occurred in 2006 when an unknown party stole a laptop and an external hard drive which contained personal information belonging to more than 26 million veterans. By comparison, this is a very small-scale attack, although that’s small consolation to those who have had their personal information compromised.
In any case, if you haven’t been contacted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, it’s safe to assume you’re not among the affected. Even so, out of an abundance of caution, it’s a good idea to keep a watchful eye out for phishing type attacks aimed at getting more information from you. Monitor your credit report for accounts opened in your name.