Data of around 100,000 passengers compromised through cyber-attack on border patrol database

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June 13, 2019
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A hacker named “Boris Bullet-Dodger” stole the information of around 100,000 passengers through a cyber-attack on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A US CBP official said on Monday that one their subcontractors were under a “malicious cyber attack” which exposed images of passengers coming in and out of the country. The authorities came to know about the breach on May 31.

According to a CBP spokesperson, the compromised data including photos of travelers faces and licenses plates were transferred to the subcontractor’s network without receiving any authorization from the authorities. However, the authorities claim that the stolen data did not contain any identifying information of the passengers and that the passport and travel documents are also safe.

As the Register reports, the hacker stole data from a company named Perceptics, that provides technology engaged to read license plate numbers for the US-Mexico border. After stealing the data, placed the information on the dark web as a free download for everyone.

It is a known fact that border patrol authorities utilize cameras and video recordings at airports and land border crossings to monitor the travelers moving in or out of the country. The images and videos captured are then used for a facial-recognition program which is developed to track the identity of people crossing the US border.

This kind of sensitive information and databases containing personal information of people has proven to be an attractive target for the hackers and cyber-criminals. These kinds of incidents suggest that there is a dire need for careful evaluation of data collection techniques by the government agencies and the addition of more protective measures to keep this data safe.

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