Read the rest of the story. The data was stolen by a burglar from the home of an employee who took it home illegally. It wasn't hacked. What's a junkie burglar going to do with 26.5 million names, addresses, and SSNs ? I doubt he's tied into a network of international identity thieves. What's he going to do, mail everybody a postcard ?
How many times is that data replicated for you ? Hundreds ? Thousands ? Think of how many employees have access to similar data on you, yet there's no cause for alarm.
You should be more worried about giving your credit card to the cute little Eastern European waitress at Denny's or giving your SSN to the clerk at your doctor's office than about having a petty thief get these types of records en masse.
I've had my "identity stolen" twice. One guy was kind enough to use it to contribute to Social Security on my behalf (he worked for a short time in Queens NY after "guessing" my SSN), and the other time my ATM card # was guessed by some Croatian teens and used for oinline purchases. By staying on top of my finances, I caught it within 24 hours and put a stop to it immediately with no cost to me.
Nothing more will come of this lost data, except for the VA spending many millions of dollars notifying the "victims" and modifying their systems in a vain attempt to prevent this from happening again.
It's not lack of access to identity data that's holding potential ID thieves back, its all of the systems that are already in place to catch them once they've done it.
lol. My former wife told me this morning that we both were on that list. I reminded her that every knuckle head in the world already has our information.
The politics of this are annoying. Senators are already "out front" on the issue complaining about the VA. You know, it must really suck to be a politician. Go through life being a reactionary, never having an original thought, and always worried about getting re-elected.