Call the National Guard. On second thoughts, call someone else. After all, it is the National Guard which has somehow managed to lose an archival data disk containing five years worth of staff records covering some 15,000 personnel.

The US National Guard is now recommending that any current and former members of staff who are potentially impacted by the loss contact a credit reference bureau. US social security numbers are highly valued amongst identity thieves as they are a common method of identification in all sorts of transactions.

Of course, it isn't the first time that National Guard data has gone walkabout. How about back in 2006 when 2.2 million records concerning US military personnel, including 80 percent of the active-duty force at the time, were stolen? Some 430,000 National Guard personnel were amongst those whose data went missing back then, although an in-depth investigation by the powers that be eventually managed to track it down and limit the damage to reputation done. I don't know about the US Military embracing social networking, or the US Army embracing the iPhone for that matter, maybe it ought to start embracing basic security principals such as the importance of data encryption when talking about such sensitive records for example.

"The archival drive reportedly contains the names, addresses and social security number details of at least 15,000 current and former members of staff as at March 2009, and spans back to the start of 2004" Andy Cordial, managing director at Origin Software says, concluding "whilst some experts claim that encrypting live data is overkill in some situations, the fact that was an archival disk, and almost certainly only accessed if the computer's primary drive went down, means that high levels of encryption should have been applied".

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