Data Breach Strikes Adventist Records
No I.D. Theft Reported Yet; North American Division Offers Credit Monitoring, Protection
BY ADVENTIST REVIEW staff
number of current and former or retired employees of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, entities within the North American Division and the former Boston Regional Medical Center may have had their personal identifying information exposed in a data breach reported by church authorities, the North American Division has disclosed.
No reports of identity theft relating to the data breach have been received as yet. However, the North American Division has mailed letters to those who may have been affected. All who may be affected will be offered, at no cost to them, credit report monitoring and identity theft protection services, the division said.
According to the NAD, the data breach occurred when a notebook computer containing the information was apparently stolen during an off-site meeting of NAD officers in December 2008. The computer was anonymously returned four days later, the NAD said, and computer forensics do not indicate the data was accessed “via normal means,” according to the division.
The NAD emphasized that no reports of identity theft have yet been received. Officials also said, via a special NAD Web site, “we have taken immediate steps to strengthen our internal security measures. Further, we are in the process of reviewing our security processes. Protecting your personal information is a high priority for us.”
Anyone who is concerned about identity theft is being urged to learn more about the issue through a U.S. Government Web site, www.consumer.gov/idtheft, as well as by checking his or her credit reports at least once a year. Information on checking credit reports can be found at www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
The division has established www.retfaq.org, an Internet Web site, containing information and resources on the matter. Also, the division has engaged Kroll Inc., the world’s leading risk consulting company, to provide identity theft safeguards to those affected.
The possible breach of Seventh-day Adventist personnel information is not unusual in the digital age. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, or ITRC, a non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft based in San Diego, California, the year 2008 saw a “dramatic” increase in data breaches: an ITRC report said its list “reached 656 reported breaches at the end of 2008, reflecting an increase of 47-percent over ’s total of 446 [incidents].”