People's Bank, Atlantis faced with breaches

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Two companies are investigating unrelated recent incidents in which the personal information of tens of thousands of customers was either lost or stolen.

Bridgeport, Conn.,-based People's Bank said last week that it is alerting 90,000 affected customers that a computer tape containing personal information was lost during delivery.

Meanwhile, hackers stole the confidential information of more than 50,000 customers at the popular Bahamas resort Atlantis, according to published reports. The information - swiped from the hotel's computer database - included names, addresses, bank account data and Social Security, credit card and driver's license numbers.

The People's Bank tape went missing while being transported by UPS to Pennsylvania-based credit reporting bureau TransUnion, the bank said in a statement.

The tape contains names, addresses and Social Security and checking account numbers of customers who have overdraft protection on their accounts, the bank said. Not included on the tape are balances, PIN numbers or birth dates.

The 153-branch bank said it didn't anticipate any unauthorized access because the tapes require sophisticated equipment to use. Information contained on the tapes isn't sufficient to allow unauthorized access to customer accounts, the bank said.

A UPS spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment. Brandon Hoff, senior vice president at data security firm CipherOptics, said banks should transfer data over high-speed networks to guarantee delivery.

"It's a lot more cost-effective," he said, "and it doesn't end up on the evening news."

In the Atlantis incident, management is notifying customers so they can take steps to prevent identity theft, according to published reports.

Marv Goldschmitt, vice president of business development for security firm Tizor, said breaches such as these are becoming more common, and companies should continue to be honest with customers.

"As more and more critical information is stored in centralized information services, the reality is that there will also be sophisticated thieves who will try to compromise it," Goldschmitt said.

The hotel and People's Bank both are offering customers a free year of credit monitoring.

Representatives from Kerzner International, Atlantis' owner, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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