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Lucent wrote the book on tech security, but forgot to read it

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A disk containing the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, salaries and other personal information for all Lucent employees in the United States went missing in Somerset County between April 5 and May 3.

Hewitt Associates in Bridgewater, which handles Lucent’s health and pension benefits, prepared the disk
and mailed it to insurer Aon Corporation on April 5. Aon reportedly received
an empty envelope. Employees are shaking their heads over the fact that Alcatel-Lucent, which helped to develop data-protection technology and provides data-protection services through its security division, failed to encrypt the data.

Alcatel-Lucent waited 10 days to notify employees of the security breach while it investigated. Some employees learned of the problem through e-mail from a Lucent retirees’ organization.

The company hired a firm to provide employees with free identity protection and credit monitoring for one year. Still, with more than 200,000 affected employees, Lucent will be playing catch-up.

It’s a reminder that in any crisis, a swift response is better received than a delayed one.

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