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Coca-Cola says information-packed laptops were stolen and retrieved

Jan. 25, 2014 at 10:15 AM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Beverage giant Coca-Cola said that laptops that were stolen and retrieved included personal data on 74,000 employees and business associates.

Coca-Cola said there was no evidence the data had been misused and that only 10 of the 74,000 people affected were at risk of having their credit card or debit card information compromised.

The company said it was informing 18,000 people that their names and social security numbers were potentially compromised. It was also informing 56,000 people that their names and driver's license numbers, among other data, were on the stolen laptop computers.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the company has a policy that mandates personal information be encrypted, but the information stolen along with the laptops had not been encrypted.

The company did not say how it realized the laptops were stolen or how it got them back, but Coca-Cola spokeswoman Ann Moore said a former employee who was given the task of disposing of the laptops had stolen them.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Bob Page, said the company had been in touch with prosecutors, but the company said no arrests had been made, the Journal reported.

The company also said it was contacting affected individuals and that it had begun notifying persons whose information had been stolen within the legal time frame for doing so.

The company said it learned on Dec. 10 that personal information had been part of the theft and that it began informing employees Friday what had occurred.

Coca-Cola said the delay was necessary to give it time to review the contents on the computers and that it was working as fast as possible to "sort through the data."

"To expedite the process, we brought in extra crews that worked long hours, including throughout the holiday period and on weekends," the company said.

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