The Internship from Hell
A 22-year-old Ohio IT intern says he’s being made out to be the “scapegoat” in a case of 800,000 stolen Social Security numbers.
The problem started with the fact that the “offsite” backup tapes usually spent the night in somebody’s car:
A 22-year-old intern said today he’s the “scapegoat” for the loss of over 800,000 social security numbers.
A backup tape was stolen from his car last month containing at least 770,000 social security numbers (with the corresponding names) for Ohio taxpayers. It also contained the social security numbers for another 64,000 state employees. Today the intern issued a statement with his side of the story.
Four months ago 22-year-old Jared Ilovar — who’s studying computers at DeVry University — started an internship with the state of Ohio. He said he’d sometimes take home a data tape to ensure there was an off-site version of the data. “The extent of my instructions on what to do after I removed the tapes from the tape drive and took the tapes out of the building was, ‘bring these back tomorrow.’”
So on the night of the theft, over 800,000 social security numbers were on a tape in his car, parked outside his apartment. “It is my understanding that five or more cars were broken into the same night as my car was broken into…” he announced today, “and now I am the scapegoat for the State of Ohio.”
There were also chain-of-command and procedural problems that contributed to the incident:
It became the internship from hell — though from a security perspective, it was an undeniably sloppy procedure. A separate report Friday from Ohio’s Inspector General noted that the intern “remembered to bring them into his apartment approximately 85% of the time,” and that on those occassions, he’d put the data tapes “on top of his TV, so that he would remember to bring them back on the following day.” After investigating more than a month, the Inspector General reported this had been the policy for over five years, and that for the last two years, it had been executed by interns. (One intern even described the continuing tradition proudly as “the passing of the torch.”) Amazingly, the same policy had also been in effect at Ohio’s Office of Management and Budget for the last eight years.
Their report also faults the chain of command, which was muddled by contractors. The Inspector General identified Jared Ilovar as “a 22-year-old, $10.50-an-hour employee” hired just three months earlier, who received his assignment from… another intern. The intern reported to a $125-an-hour consultant, who reported to another $200-an-hour consultant…
The theft/loss of those backup tapes sounds like an accident just waiting to happen, readers.
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