UK: Web exposure breach at Toshiba last summer revealed … today?

Toshiba Information Systems (UK) have breached the Data Protection Act (DPA) after the personal details of 20 competition entrants were compromised by a security flaw on their website, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today.

The ICO was informed by a member of the public in September last year that the personal details of individuals registered for an online competition on the company’s website, were accessible. These included names, addresses and dates of birth, along with contact information. The ICO’s investigation found that the measures in place at the time of the incident were not sufficient to detect that a Web design error had been made by a third party developer.

Stephen Eckersley, the ICO’s Head of Enforcement said:

“It is vital that, as ever-increasing amounts of our personal information are collected online, companies have the necessary safeguards in place to keep this information secure.

“We are pleased that Toshiba Information Systems (UK) have committed to ensuring that any changes to applications on their website are thoroughly tested by both the developer and themselves, in order to keep the personal information they are collecting secure. We would urge other UK organisations with interactive websites to make sure they have suitable checks in place before collecting peoples’ details online.”

Toshiba Information Systems’ (UK) commitment to take action to keep the personal data they handle secure includes the introduction of appropriate and proportionate data security testing on relevant Web applications before they are launched.

Source: Information Commissioner’s Office.

Note that this breach appears to be a different one than the Toshiba breach reported on this blog in July of last year. That breach involved a hack that Toshiba publicly acknowledged.  In the incident referred to in this press release from the ICO, it appeared to be a web exposure situation due to a web design error resulting in a one-up situation. The undertaking signed by Toshiba indicates:

A security fault with the incremental numbering of competition entrants registration URL, created the potential for access to other customer’s personal data for a two month period. A total of 20 data subject’s information was compromised as a result, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth.

It is not clear from the documentation or press release whether Toshiba ever notified the individuals whose data were potentially exposed. Toshiba does not appear to have issued any press release issued over the incident – or if they did, I’m not finding it in the archive of their press releases.

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