Home Security Credit card data leak at DSS comes to light

Credit card data leak at DSS comes to light

Outsourcing data storage has come back to bite the Department of Social Services, with the personal details of 8500 current and former employees being available on the Web between June 2016 and October 2017.

The error was put down to a third-party provider, Business Information Services, with the department's chief financial officer claiming the leak "is not a result of any of the department’s internal systems”.

The Guardian reported that the department had sent letters to the affected employees earlier this month, alerting them to the compromise within the credit card management system.

It said the data that was exposed included credit card details, names, usernames, work phone numbers, work emails, system passwords, Australian Government services numbers, public service classifications and organisation units.

The data covered the years from 2004 to 2015. The department was notified of the leak by the Australian Signals Directorate on 3 October. It took more than a month for the employees to be notified.

The newspaper quoted a spokesperson from BIS as saying there was no evidence of a cyber attack.

The information that leaked included “partially anonymous work-related expenses”. Also “cost centres, corporate credit cards without CCV and expiry dates and passwords that were hashed and therefore not visible”, were visible during the 16 months that the data was exposed.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.