Friday, September 7, 2007

OOPS, They Did It Again! Third Breach for Pfizer, Inc.

Perhaps the pharmaceutical giant’s single-minded goal - your health - would explain why they’ve had three security breaches in the past three months and unfortunately this is becoming all too common for companies.

This isn’t to say that Pfizer isn’t cooperating with authorities, but like so many other companies, they’re just too busy with the work at hand; they don’t prioritize their time to ensuring there are processes in place to protecting and securing what they’ve worked so hard to build. First and foremost, training of employees, particularly sales reps, who are constantly on the road and most susceptible to the loss of data, need to know how to handle the data they obtain and have access to.

Connecticut’s Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, made this statement in a phone interview with one of the state’s newspapers, The Day:

"This is part of a pattern that is unacceptable and which the company should find intolerable," Blumenthal said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We are alerting criminal authorities, specifically the U.S. Attorney's Office, as to the possibilities of criminal wrongdoing."

This latest breach has exposed 34,000 to possible identity theft and the previous breach exposed 17,000 current and former employees, as well as, healthcare workers and other individuals when confidential information was “wrongfully removed…from a Pfizer computer system”.

It wasn’t until this latest breach, which appears to be an apparent and intentional abuse by a now former employee, that a Pfizer spokesperson said that the company has now turned its focus to protecting the security of employees' personal information and that various policies and procedures are currently under review. Although it’s unknown, at this time, whether this potential for criminal activity has affected anyone who’s personal information was stolen, the company has voluntarily provided an identity theft solution for those involved in hopes of avoiding federal charges.