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U.S. venture firm Kleiner Perkins suffers security breach

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California detectives are investigating a July computer theft at storied venture capital-firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a spokeswoman for the Menlo Park police said on Thursday.

The theft may put Kleiner in jeopardy of losing valuable financial data and making the firm the latest in a long list of businesses that have lost sensitive information to thieves. In this case, the information was taken by physical, not electronic, means.

Kleiner invests in Silicon Valley startups with highly competitive business plans, including payments startup Square, thermostat company Nest, and ride service Uber.

Investors in its funds include endowments and foundations that keep their investment decisions private. The performance of those funds is a closely guarded secret.

It is unclear what information was on the stolen computers, or if it has been misused. A spokeswoman and a lawyer for Kleiner Perkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After reporting the theft to local police, Kleiner Perkins contacted the attorney general of New Hampshire in an Aug. 13 letter because the information of a state resident was compromised. Kleiner General Counsel Paul Vronsky said the theft included two password-protected laptops used by personnel in its finance department. (http://1.usa.gov/1wftJHG)

Those personnel have access to data including social security numbers and financial account information, Vronsky wrote.

“We are cooperating with law enforcement in an effort to recover the laptops and apprehend the offenders,” Vronsky said. “We are also working with forensic and security experts to implement additional security measures.”

According to a police spokeswoman, an unknown suspect entered the Sand Hill Road offices of the venture firm by unknown means sometime over the weekend of July 19-20. The suspect took a docking station, three Lenovo laptops, an Apple desktop computer and two monitors, and an Apple MacBook Air.

Kleiner reported the theft to police on the morning of July 21, the spokeswoman said.

News of the theft was originally reported Thursday by the web site databreaches.net.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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