A Japanese lost a USB after a night out. A USB with the private data of 400,000 inhabitants

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A Japanese worker thought it was a good idea to party after leaving the office last Tuesday, but what he didn’t imagine was that he would end up losing a USB drive with the personal data of all residents of Amagasakia city located northwest of Osaka.

According to Vice, the employee, whose identity has not been revealed, stopped by a bar to drink alcohol after work. Apparently, he drank too much, so he didn’t make it to his house and fell asleep on the street. When he woke up, the shock of what had happened overcame the hangover.

He had lost the briefcase where he carried a flash drive with the names, surnames, dates of birth, addresses, bank account numbers and tax information of the 465,177 residents of Amagasaki, information that he had extracted without permission from his company to continue working on another computer.

The information of an entire city in a lost flash drive

But why did such sensitive information from so many residents end up outside the orbit of the authorities? It is that the municipal government of the city, in the prefecture of Hyogo, contracted the company BIPROGY to help him find out which households met the requirements for exemptions from some taxes.

What the municipality did not imagine either, is that it would inform the firm to which it had entrusted these data —presumably through a confidentiality and protection agreement— that one of their employees had lost them. BIPROGY made the complaint to the corresponding police in the hope of recovering the information.

Jonathan Borba G770qwe45gq Unsplash

For its part, embarrassed by what had happened, the city council issued a Press release in which he apologized “profoundly to the citizens of Amagasaki, the city of Amagasaki, and to all concerned for the inconvenience caused by the loss of important information”

However, this egregious error did not go unnoticed. The city received more than 30,000 calls from many angry residents. After all, we are talking about enough information that, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be useful for executing a wide variety of cyber scamsbeing one of the main campaigns of phishing.

Fortunately, although with vague memories, the employee tried to reconstruct what had happened that night of alcohol. Thus, he came to an apartment building that he thought he had passed on his way to his house before falling asleep. Finally, found the briefcase. It was intact, as if nobody had noticed its presence, and of course, the USB drive was not missing.

Improving security practices

Amagasaki officials were able to breathe with the good news and assured that the flash drive was encrypted and that there was no evidence of attempts to access the personal information of its residents, so they rule out a data breach. However, the episode is not without concern.

BIPROGY, which works with several Japanese municipalities, is now tasked with restoring its reputation. And this is not an inexperienced company, but one that has more than 60 years of history, many of them collaborating closely with public and private organizations in the IT services sector.

What a cybersecurity professional really does in 2019

The company has ensured that rreview and improve all your management and operation processes. In addition, it will “provide comprehensive education and guidance to all officers, employees and affiliated companies.” Of course, he has not provided details of what will happen to the employee, but surely this person will think twice before going to the party again with a USB drive with sensitive information from his work.

As we can see, good security practices go beyond focusing on computer systems. They must also include responsible handling of data by all members of a teamOtherwise, as we have seen, an oversight can be very expensive.

Images | Motoki Tonn (Unsplash) | Jonathan Borba (Unsplash)

A Japanese worker thought it was a good idea to party after leaving the office last Tuesday, but what he…

A Japanese worker thought it was a good idea to party after leaving the office last Tuesday, but what he…

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