SECURITY: SAFPS Responds to “SA’s Biggest Data Breach” Asking Consumers to Proceed with Caution
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RESPONDING to what has been billed “SA’s biggest data breach” Manie van Schalkwyk of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, says this is not a situation to be taken lightly.
While some reports speculate on who the real victim is, Van Schalkwyk says it is consumers who are the real victims.
The breach has exposed about 30 million identity numbers and other personal and related information on the internet, according to a data researcher.
Among the sensitive data amounting to about 27 gigabytes, information includes identity numbers, personal income, age, employment history, company directorships, race group, marital status, occupation, employer and previous addresses.
Van Schalkwyk says exposure is dangerous in that it presents an opportunity for fraudsters to open accounts and transact as one of the named parties in the leaked profiles, with enough information to verify that transaction as being conducted by themselves.
He adds that this could be both a breach and a hack where a hacker was potentially looking for an opportunity. “A hacker could have various motives,” he says. “They could sell the information, be seeking revenge on an organisation or looking to create harm. These all have repercussions.”
Van Schalkwyk is certain that every South African is on this database and should assume that this is the case. “ I warn consumers against attempting to verify if they are on the database or anybody offering services like that.” “You could be leading yourself into further jeopardy by providing somebody else with data with the understanding that you will verify if you are on the leaked dataset. You might provide legitimate information to an illegitimate source.
Rather get your credit report from a credit bureau and check if there are any suspicious transactions. Once you realise that something is suspicious, then it is advisable to apply for Protective Registration on the SAFPS website. This will provide the consumer with added security and will alert the credit provider or the bank that the specific ID number has been compromised. This service is free of charge to consumers.
In the normal course of events, should you lose your ID or passport or feel that your identity is compromised in any way, go to www.safps.org.za, click on lost passport/ID to apply for temporary Protective Registration that will be issued on line.
“Although this event is tragic, I am convinced that all database managers will revisit their security protocols, which in itself is a positive spin off of this event.”
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