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University of Miami Reveals Theft

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- A private off-site storage company used by the University of Miami has notified the University that a container carrying computer back-up tapes of patient information was stolen. The tapes were in a transport case that was stolen from a vehicle contracted by the storage company on March 17 in downtown Coral Gables, the company reported. Law enforcement is investigating the incident as one of a series of petty thefts in the area.

Shortly after learning of the incident, the University determined it would be unlikely that a thief would be able to access the backup tapes because of the complex and proprietary format in which they were written. Even so, the University engaged leading computer security experts at Terremark Worldwide to independently ascertain the feasibility of accessing and extracting data from a similar set of backup tapes.

For more than a week my team devised a number of methods to extract readable data from the tapes,” said Christopher Day, senior vice president of the Secure Information Services group at Terremark. “Because of the highly proprietary compression and encoding used in writing the tapes, we were unable to extract any usable data.”

Terremark Worldwide Inc.