Pfizer confirms third breach involving employee data

As many as 34,000 workers may be vulnerable to ID theft

Pfizer appears to be having an especially hard time of late keeping its employee data secure.

The company today confirmed that as many as 34,000 of its employees may be at risk of identity theft after a former employee illegally accessed and download copies of confidential information from a Pfizer computer system without the company's knowledge. The compromised information included, names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers and bank and credit card information.

The incident occurred sometime late last year but was discovered by Pfizer only on July 10, according to Pfizer spokeswoman Shreya Prudlo. The company started notifying individuals of the breach on Aug. 24 -- more than six weeks after learning of the incident.

Prudlo did not say when or where exactly the breach occurred or how the company discovered it. Nor did she say why Pfizer waited for so long to inform affected individuals of the incident. So far, at least, the compromised information doesn't appear to have been misused, she said.

The story of the compromise was first reported by The Detroit News, which claimed to have received a copy of the letter Pfizer sent out to those affected by the breach.

This is the third time since June that Pfizer has disclosed a data breach. The first incident involved the potential compromise of personally identifiable information belonging to about 17,000 people when the spouse of an employee illegally downloaded and used file-sharing software on a company computer. As it did after the just disclosed breach, Pfizer waited more than six weeks after learning of that incident to inform affected individuals that their data had been compromised.

Then in July, the company reported that two laptops containing confidential employee data as well as proprietary company information were stolen out of the locked car of an employee working for Axia, a contractor for Pfizer.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?