The US Department of Veterans Affairs has disclosed a data breach, that could have affected the personal information of about 46,000 veterans. It said the hackers have exploited an authentication protocol in one of its FSC apps, and diverted payments intended for sponsoring veterans treatments.

US Veterans Personal Data Breached

The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers eligible veterans services like outpatient clinics and medical services, also several non-healthcare benefits like education assistance, burial and memorial benefits, disability compensation, home loans, life insurance and vocational rehabilitation. The office this department has disclosed a data breach incident yesterday.

It explained that unknown users have “social engineered” one of the apps from Veterans Affairs Financial Services Center (FSC), and exploiting the “authentication protocol” to access personal information of about 46,000 veterans. Also, they may have accessed Social Security Numbers of few veterans, says the department notification.

The breach also includes the hackers diverting payments that were intended for aiding the medical treatments for veterans. The FSC has immediately taken the concerned application to avoid further exploitation, and said to bring it up back after a “comprehensive security review“. Meanwhile, the FSC is informing all those who are affected and relatives of those deceased via mails.

FSC asks the veterans who received the mail to follow instructions accordingly, and for those whose Social Security Numbers were accessed, are eligible for free credit monitoring services for free, and the steps to avoid any potential cyberattacks. FSC asked affected veterans to reach their Help Desk for support or write to their address for queries.

This is the second data breach reported by VA, with the first one took place in 2006 where an employee’s laptop was stolen that contained details about 26,000 veterans.


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