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March 27th, 2008

Bank Of NY Mellon Corporation Loses Clients Details Backup Tapes

Bank Of New York Mellon, a Pittsburgh-based shareholder services firm, has notified about 3,500 individuals, some of them are residents of Maryland, that the company lost a box of computer data tapes from last month with personal information including names, Social Security numbers and possibly bank account numbers. The company estimates that less than 1% of its 35 million clients nationwide have been affected.

BNY Mellon Shareowner Services, which assists clients such as MetLife, sent letters to affected shareholders of such clients offering them 12 months of free credit monitoring and other assistance.

The company backs up its computer database every day and sends the tapes to a secure storage facility. Currently BNY Mellon investigates to determine what kind of information the tapes held and notifies its clients.

The information was not encrypted it seems, since no one mentioned encryption. If BNY Mellon Shareowner Services transports unencrypted customer database back-up tapes daily, there might be some really unnecessary risk here.

Update (May 31): Last week Bank of New York Mellon Corp. officials confirmed that a box of unencrypted data storage tapes holding personal information of more than 4.5 million individuals was lost. The bank informed the Connecticut State Attorney General’s Office that the tapes belonging to its BNY Mellon Shareowner Services division were lost in transport by off-site storage firm Archive America on Feb. 27. The missing backup tapes include names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and other information from customers of BNY Mellon and the People’s United Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., according to a statement by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

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