The laptop may cost a thousand dollars – perhaps two thousand dollars. The lost data on the laptop could cost the state of Oklahoma millions of dollars. One million people in Oklahoma are at risk of identity theft:

“The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) is notifying more than one million state residents that their personal data was stored on an unencrypted laptop that was stolen from an agency employee.

The computer file contained the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses of Oklahoma’s Human Services’ clients receiving benefits from programs such as Medicaid, child care assistance, nutrition aid and disability benefits, the agency announced Thursday.”

link: Unencrypted laptop with 1 million SSNs stolen from state

This is more than what even an inept identity thief would need to start a crime spree. At the industry standard of ten dollars per person for credit monitoring, this could be a very expensive loss for the state. In addition, there will be lawsuits to follow.

It is baffling why this laptop was unencrypted. Chris Pirillo has offered programs like Invisible Secret at a reduced rate for this very reason. For a few thousand dollars, it would be possible to encrypt every laptop that holds government data for the state of Oklahoma. It would be less than twenty dollars per laptop. Instead, the state of Oklahoma has a potential cost of millions of dollars to protect its citizens – and a public relations nightmare.

Catherine Forsythe