On September 14th of 2020, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Management, colloquially known as the VA, gave public notice of a recent data breach event that had impacted their system.
The VA’s Financial Services Center (FSC) were the first to discover that one of their online applications system was breached by unauthorized users. Once access was gained, the rogue users were reportedly able to divert payments intended to reach healthcare providers involved in the treatment of Veterans within the system.
Per the FSC, the methods by which unauthorized users were able to access the system included social engineering and exploitation of authentication protocols. As a result, the VA has restricted access to the system until further review can be conducted and other preventative measures can be implemented.
The victims of this data breach have reportedly already been individually notified. In the cases where the affected person was deceased, their recorded next-of-kin should have been alerted. If a veteran’s personal information was not impacted by this breach, they would not have been contacted.
At this time, the nature of the personal information accessed is unclear. However, given that the breached system dealt with medical providers, it is likely that sensitive health information may have been illicitly obtained, as well as other delicate personal details.
The estimated 46,000 persons affected by this data privacy incident were reportedly provided with instructions on how to protect their data in a letter sent by the Department.
Ali Saeed, an experienced data privacy attorney at Saeed & Little, has announced that will be conducting an investigation into the data breach recently reported by the VA’s Financial Services Center.
Mr. Saeed has tasked his legal support team with gathering as much relevant information from involved parties to better grasp the scope of the data privacy event at hand. The firm is also looking to get an accurate measure of the individuals affected and the damages they may have experienced from the data leak.
The Saeed & Little law firm has announced that they are still in the beginning stages of their investigation into this breach. After holding communications with those affected by the incident, they believe they have been able to explain the victim’s legal rights as well as their potential options.
The concern posed by a data breach is clear – if sensitive personal information falls into the wrong hands, terrible crimes including identity theft and fraudulent purchases may be committed. Individuals affected by these incidents often spend years trying to undo the trouble that inadvertently fell upon them because their personal data was leaked.
If Mr. Saeed’s investigation finds the necessary evidence to pursue legal action, the filing of a class-action lawsuit may be necessary to achieve justice on behalf of those impacted.