Marines' personal data exposed on Web

July 26, 2007

By Kimberly Johnson - Staff writer

Some Marines. personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, was inadvertently posted online recently, exposing more than 10,000 leathernecks to potential identity theft, the Corps announced.

Under a research contract, Penn State University obtained from the Corps the personal information of Marines who had rifle range requalification records while attending Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., from January 2004 through December 2006.

The data belonging to 10,554 Marines was .improperly posted. by Penn State, according to a Corps-wide message.

The information was then cached by the Google Internet search engine, states MarAdmin 443/07.

The issue came to light when one of the affected Marines googled his own name and found the posting, said Maj. Tim Keefe, a spokesman at Quantico, Va.

The Marine notified Penn State officials, who immediately took the information off the Internet and notified the Corps of the problem July 6. However, the information was available online for 10 to 11 days, Keefe said.

Release of the sensitive information appears to be contained, the Corps said.

"Information to date indicates that the Web page containing the information was only accessed by one individual, a Marine whose information was released," the MarAdmin states.

The message advises Marines to review their credit reports and look for suspicious activity, such as loans or new accounts they did not request, or activity on an old or inactive account.

Requests for comment from Google and Penn State were not immediately answered.

A Federal Trade Commission Web site offers tips to protect yourself from identity theft and offers advice on what to do if you are a victim.

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