NASA was informing employees this week that a laptop computer with personnel information such as social security numbers was stolen from a locked car two weeks ago, potentially putting thousands of workers and contractors at risk.
According to a Reuters report, the laptop, issued to an employee at NASA headquarters in Washington, was password protected but its disk was not fully encrypted. The security breach affects thousands of employees and contractors at NASA facilities around the United States.
The agency is investigating the theft, the report says. It also has hired ID Experts, a data breach specialist, to follow up with individuals whose information was on the computer.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden banned the removal of unencrypted laptops containing sensitive information from any NASA facility and ordered security software upgrades to be finished by Dec. 21, the report says. The agency also warned employees about storing sensitive data on smart phones and mobile devices.
The agency is offering employees free credit-monitoring services and other support.