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Pentagon Hacker Reportedly Compromised Data of 14,000 People

An intruder gained access to a Defense Department computer server and compromised confidential health care insurance information for more than 14,000 people, the department said Friday.

William Winkenwerder Jr., the assistant defense secretary for health affairs, said the affected individuals have been advised by letter that the compromise of personal information could put them at risk for identity theft.

"Such incidents are reprehensible, and we deeply regret the inconvenience this may cause the people we serve," he said in a brief statement.

The Pentagon established a toll-free telephone number (1-800-600-9332) for affected people to call if they have questions. The computer server is for people insured under the Pentagon's TRICARE health care system.

The type of information that was compromised was not disclosed in the Pentagon announcement, but Winkenwerder said it varied and investigators do not know the intent of the crime or if the compromised information will be misused.

A spokesman for Winkenwerder, who asked not to be identified, said the information included names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and some personal health information.

Routine monitoring of one of the health care insurance system's public servers detected unusual activity, and an investigation led to the discovery on April 5 that an intrusion had occurred and information was compromised.

As a result, additional monitoring tools were installed to improve security of existing networks and data files, Winkenwerder said.

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