A laptop computer containing names, social security numbers and other sensitive information of 161,000 current and former employees of Boeing Co. was stolen recently, the U.S. aerospace manufacturer said Friday.
"We are taking a number of steps to minimize any potential damage that could result from this violation of our security procedures," Rick Stephens, Boeing human resources senior vice president, said in a statement.
Some of the employee information on the laptop included banking information and birth dates, Boeing said, adding that there was no evidence any of the information was misused. The laptop was not stolen from a Boeing site, the company said. They did not say where the theft took place.
Identity theft has become a major concern in the United States after several high-profile incidents of ID theft, including the theft of tens of thousands of personal records were stolen from data provider ChoicePoint Inc..
More than 1.2 million such records were stolen from Bank of America earlier this year and hackers breached the security of the University of California network exposing the personal data of 1.4 million people.
Boeing, which said it notified authorities, said it is notifying each of the affected individuals and would pay for their enrollment in fraud protection and credit monitoring programs.
"We deeply regret that this happened and we are strongly committed to helping all affected employees avoid any adverse consequences that potentially could result from this theft," Stephens said.