NZ: Personal info on children, beneficiaries and contractors of Ministry of Social Development found on kiosk computers

Radio New Zealand reports what appears to be a data leak that may have started two years ago:

Information about children in the care of Child Youth Family, beneficiaries and contractors employed by the Ministry of Social Development has been freely accessible through public computer kiosks at Work Income offices.

Freelance journalist and blogger Keith Ng says he was able to download 7000 documents from the ministry’s network through self-service computer kiosks set up for job-seekers.

Mr Ng says the documents were just a fraction of those available. They included invoices detailing the medical conditions of children in state care, the names of people being investigated for benefit fraud, and pay rates for individual ministry contractors.

The self-service kiosks have been in Work Income offices since October 2010.

Mr Ng says he did not have to hack into the system – no passwords or special commands were required.

He informed the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the ministry has begun an investigation.

MSD deputy chief executive Marc Warner said all kiosks are now closed and won’t be open again until the ministry obtains clearance from independent security experts.

So the question is: when and how did MSD ever test the security of their databases? Medical info of children leaking as well as the other types of info is pretty serious.

See the blogger’s report here for more details on what was exposed.  The New Zealand Herald has also picked up the story.

Update 1:  Oh my. It turns out that Work Income (WINZ) was notified of this breach in July 2011. They’ve really got some explaining to do now.

Update 2: Well, maybe it wasn’t. MSD claims the original claim of security breaches a year ago was “quite different” than the most recent breaches.

Update 3:  The blogger named his source.


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