31 May 2005 The Japanese branch of investment bank UBS has become the latest financial services company to admit to an embarrassing loss of customer data – this time 15,500 of its customers were affected.
UBS has admitted that it lost a hard disk containing the banking details of 15,500 of its customers – including individual and company customer names, addresses, phone numbers and details of transactions carried out between 1994 and 2004.
The loss only came to light during a software upgrade programme at its Tokyo and Hong Kong offices.
Currently UBS has found the casing that should have contained the disk but is unable to say whether the data has left the organisation.
UBS is presently undertaking an internal enquiry into the loss, but the Japanese regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has implied it will launch its own if questions are not answered satisfactorily.
The Authority is keen to know both what was on the disk and the preventative measures taken to prevent the accident: increasing numbers of financial institutions are now storing client information on network servers that never leave the building.
However there are still high profile victims: in February 2005 Bank of America lost several data tapes during shipment to a back up data centre. In March, Japanese bank Mizuho said it had lost 270,000 customer records.