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Friday, 24 November 2017 09:34

Credit card data leak at DSS comes to light Featured


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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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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