The Coca-Cola Company made the announcement on Friday that they recently had a possible security breech when several of its company laptops went missing.
The soft drink corporation said that several of their employee laptops were stolen from the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and could have compromised the information of over 74,000 people.
Reportedly, these laptops contained data that revealed private information including names, addresses, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and credit card information – for thousands of employees, both in the United States and Canada.
Although the laptops disappeared months ago, they were recovered in December, with no known issues.
Coca-Cola's Stolen Laptops Present A Pretty Big Problem http://t.co/pvIaEO6x7o
— Coca-Cola 24x7 (@CocaCola24x7) January 26, 2014
The company did discover the theft quickly, and immediately notified about 18,000 of its employees that had their social security numbers stored on them, with the remaining 56,000 that had less sensitive information, such as drivers license numbers as well.
Coke spokeswoman Ann Moore said the laptops were stolen by a former employee who had been assigned to maintain or dispose of equipment.
Coca-Cola laptop theft could have compromised info for 74000: WSJ http://t.co/OOkOQcyVeV
— Coca-Cola 24x7 (@CocaCola24x7) January 25, 2014
Ms. Moore said the security breach included personal information of about 4,500 individuals who were company contractors or vendors. Credit-card information for fewer than 10 people was on the stolen laptops, she said.
What is extremely questionable is the fact that even though Coca-Cola maintains a policy that all company computers be encrypted, the stolen laptops had not received their customary encryption protection.
Because of this possible threat to its employee’s personal information and the breach it might cause, Coke is offering its employees a year of free identity theft protection as an apology.
Coke said the laptops were later retrieved and it has "no indication" the personal information had been misused.
In a memo by Coca-Cola to its employees, they wrote, "To expedite the process, we brought in extra crews that worked long hours, including throughout the holiday period and on weekends, to sort through the data.''
Coke said that as of Friday, no arrest has been made.
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