Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pfizer Pharma Hit by Identity Theft for 3rd Time

The third data breach in the past three months
at Pfizer Inc. came to light Tuesday, leading
state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to
call for a criminal investigation of the incidents,
the latest of which exposed an estimated 34,000
innocent people to potential identity theft.


With the 3rd data breach disclosed this past Tuesday
within the past three months at Pfizer, has prompted the
Connecticut Attorney General to call for a criminal
investigation.

Pfizer Pharma Hit by Identity Theft for 3rd Time



According to the TheDay.com, an estimated
34,000
people (5,000 in Connecticut) have
been exposed by the internal security breach
to potential identity theft.

“This is part of a pattern that is unacceptable
and which the company should find intolerable,”
Blumenthal said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Current and former Pfizer employees, as well
as health-care workers and other individuals,
were affected by the breach, which occurred
late last year when a Pfizer employee “wrongfully
removed copies of confidential information from a
Pfizer computer system,” according to a letter
sent by Pfizer to Blumenthal.

What one can find especially disturbing about
Pfizer losing sensitive consumer data for a
third time in as many months, is there
appears to be no assurances it will not yet
happen again.

As the story continues:

“One of the very disturbing aspects of the
third breach is that it appears to be a
purposeful invasion of the securities safeguards,”
Blumenthal said. “That really demands a more
complete explanation from the company.”

A former Pfizer senior manager, made an even
more alarming accusation suggesting there are
inadequate security controls to prevent disgruntled
staff members from stealing sensitive employee
data:

“The clowns at Pfizer clearly have no way of
keeping confidential data safe,” commented
Dr. Peter Rost, a former Pfizer vice president.

While we can not judge the merit of that accusation,
the unprecedented proximity of these 3 data breaches
by internal staff is alarming - especially when you
consider the type of data reported stolen:

Pfizer said in its letter, written by company attorney
Bernard Nash, that it believes the breach involved the
names and Social Security numbers
(or Taxpayer Identification numbers) of all people affected.

In some cases, it said, home addresses, home and/or
cell phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses,
credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passport
numbers, driver's license numbers, military identification
numbers, birth dates, signatures and reasons for
termination of employment were exposed as well."

This is very sensitive consumer data and represents
the type most prized by identity theft criminals
world wide.

So, our tip for today is if you are a Pfizer employee
or spouse of one - both past and present - contact
the company immediately for your Pfizer for details
on how they've made provisions for you to get
$50,000 of identity theft insurance with no
deductible
as well as credit monitoring.

But, even more importantly, contact the three major
credit bureaus to get an immediate fraud alert
placed on your credit file - if not an outright credit
freeze
depending on your eligibility which varies by
your state of residence.

Finally, due to the very serious nature of these three
data breaches, please tell a friend or an associate of
this crucial warning.

2 Comments:

At 6:29 PM, Blogger agent99 said...

Perhaps Pfizer, as the makers of the popular Viagra pill, should consider placing a greater emphasis on protecting their employees sensitive consumer data.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What really makes me angry about this 3rd time loss by Pfizer is that they just don't seem to know how to fix the source of the data breaches:
disgruntled employees who disregard the company policy.

You'd think with over $1b in sales for the little "blue pill" alone they'd at least have a secure way to keep their employees from stealing our precious data.

 

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