NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
LexisNexis announced Wednesday that IDs and passwords belonging to customers of its newly acquired Seisint unit were "misappropriated" by "third parties" and used to access information on 32,000 individuals in a "potentially fraudulent" way. (See correction.)
LexisNexis, a provider of legal, news and business information services, said it contacted authorities and is enhancing its own ID and password procedures.
"We sincerely regret the circumstances that were recently announced," said LexisNexis CEO Kurt Sanford, in a prepared statement. "As a leader in the information services industry, we take seriously our responsibilities associated with safeguarding public and non-public information about individuals and consumers."
Sanford said the company will notify anyone whose information has been accessed and provide them with credit monitoring support to detect identity theft.
Security analysts said that this breach of security, combined with data collector ChoicePoint's announcement last month that it had provided information on 145,000 consumers to organized criminals posing as legitimate businesses, marks a greater problem with the data collection industy.
"ChoicePoint was just the beginning," said Avivah Litan, security analyst for the research institute Gartner. "This is going to be an unravelling of the information clearinghouse industry, because the likelihood is very high that they're all guilty [of lax security.]"
"We're glad to see that LexisNexis is notifying those affected and taking steps to protect them," said Adam Levin, chairman of Identity Theft 911 and former director of New Jersey's Consumer Affairs Division. "The question is, how many other companies are not doing the right thing?"
LexisNexis acquired Seisint, a provider of information management products and services, for $775 million in September.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that 32,000 passwords were stolen. That was incorrect. An unknown number of passwords were stolen, allowing access to information about 32,000 individuals. (Go back to story.)