An IT employee in the Japanese city of Amagasaki made a very painful blunder last week. He lost a USB stick containing the personal data of nearly half a million people. Fortunately, the data was well secured and no data ended up in the wrong hands. The city council promises to get better.
Various media outlets are reporting on the incident, including BBC News.
Personal data of half a million inhabitants literally on the street
After work, the employee – who worked for a company that made corona support packages – went into town with his colleagues to have a drink.
After the walk, he walked outside and, according to various media, he passed out. When he regained consciousness at some point, he saw that he had lost his bag with the USB stick. The stick contained private data of 460,000 residents of the city of Amagasaki. According to the city council, this included addresses, gender, dates of birth, information about benefits, and bank and tax details.
USB stick was well protected
Fortunately, it all turned out well. The USB stick was later found by another employee. The company had also taken security measures. The data on the memory carrier was encrypted. In addition, it was password protected. If it ended up in the wrong hands, the finders couldn’t do anything with the stick.
The mayor and other city officials have apologized for the incident. They say they have launched an investigation and will keep everyone informed of progress. The results are publicly published.
City council warns of possible fraud
“Furthermore, we will do our utmost to restore citizens’ trust by thoroughly disseminating the importance of protecting personal information to every section within the agency and raising staff awareness of the crisis,” the board said. .
She points out that cybercriminals could exploit the incident to collect personal data, for example via phishing. Finally, the board points out possible cases of fraud. “City officials, police and financial institutions will not call or email regarding this matter. If you receive a call to delete your personal information, hang up immediately.”
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