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Agents probe LexisNexis security breach

Federal agents have carried out searches in at least two states as part of the investigation of personal information from database giant LexisNexis.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Federal agents have carried out searches in at least two states as part of the investigation into the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information from database giant LexisNexis Inc.

Secret Service and FBI agents executed a search warrant in Minnesota, while FBI agents conducted 10 searches in northern California, federal law enforcement officials said Thursday.
The search in Minnesota is “definitely the LexisNexis case,” said Mike Brooks, an FBI spokesman in Ohio.

No arrests have been made in connection with the searches, which were carried out in recent days.

Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry would not comment. Steve Edwards, spokesman for Dayton, Ohio-based LexisNexis, said the company is cooperating with the investigation. He declined further comment.

LexisNexis disclosed in March that hackers had commandeered a database and gained access to the personal files of as many as 32,000 people. The company has since increased its estimate of the people affected to 310,000.

The breaches were uncovered during a review and integration of the systems of Seisint Inc. shortly after LexisNexis bought the Boca Raton, Fla.-based unit for $775 million in August.

Seisint’s databases store millions of personal records including individuals’ addresses and Social Security numbers. Customers include police and legal professionals and public and private sector organizations.

Information accessed included names, addresses and Social Security and driver’s license numbers, but not credit history, medical records or financial information, corporate parent Reed Elsevier Group PLC said in a statement.

It was the second such infiltration at a large database provider in recent months. Rival ChoicePoint Inc. said in February that the personal information of 145,000 Americans may have been compromised by thieves posing as small business customers.

The searches were first reported Thursday by