CBC warns past, current staff personal data may be at risk after break-in, theft of computer

The CBC is warning more than 20,000 of its past, present and contract employees that their personal and financial information may be at risk after a break-in and the theft of computer equipment.

Corporation has budgeted $300,000 to cover outreach, insurance costs

The CBC is offering more than 20,000 of its past, present and contract employees free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for a year after a privacy breach put their personal and financial information at risk. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

The CBC is warning more than 20,000 of its past, present and contract employees that their personal and financial information may be at risk after a break-in and the theft of computer equipment. 

"An intruder recently broke into a secure area of CBC/Radio-Canada, stealing a piece of computer equipment," Judith Purves, executive vice-president and CFO of CBC, said in a statement.

"We have determined that the stolen equipment, while password-protected, may contain electronic files, including some financial information."

Employees received an email on Wednesday saying that a letter has been sent to the home addresses of all employees detailing the information that has been put at risk — including names, bank accounts and amounts deposited into bank accounts by CBC.

CBC has budgeted $300,000 to cover the cost of notifying those affected by the breach and providing employees with a year's worth of credit monitoring and insurance against identity theft.

The corporation also has set up a response line for employees to call if they have have further questions arising from the letter mailed to their homes.

CBC says that 20,008 people employed by the corporation in the last 18 months have been affected by the breach.

The corporation also says that the intruder's identity is known, surveillance video of the break-in has been given to police and a warrant for the suspect's arrest has been issued.

"An intruder broke in and stole a piece of computer equipment. The equipment was in a locked room. There was other computer equipment in the room but only this item was stolen," said CBC spokesperson Douglas Chow. 

Chow added that police believe the theft was a crime of opportunity.

Reviewing security

CBC is also warning employees that the protective measures being taken are precautionary.

"While there is no indication that any data has been accessed, we want everyone who could be affected to be aware of the potential risks and what we're doing about it," Purves said in the statement.

The corporation would not say, however, in which city the break-in occurred, what exactly was taken, when it was taken and who was involved.

"Law enforcement cautioned us not to discuss further details of the theft at this time," said Chow.

Purves said CBC is reviewing all of its security procedures and will make changes to improve those measures as needed.

"We understand how concerning this is, and we sincerely regret that this incident has occurred," Purves said in the statement. "We are doing everything we can to minimize any risk from this incident."

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