Some 247 of the passengers aboard the cruise MS Zaandam
that faced coronavirus infection are now having to deal with an entirely
different problem that of an unintentional data breach.
We often read about data breaches and assume they’re the
result of malevolent acts. It turns out that hackers are not always to blame for
data breaches. In fact, in many situations, it’s just a mistake. Someone leaves
an unattended database available online or inadvertently shares private
information with the public.
The Holland America Line cruise line received permission to
dock the MS Zaandam at Fort Lauderdale, on April 2. Among the passengers were
247 Canadian citizens, and the Global Affairs Canada (GCA) federal agency
managed to create a security situation from thin air by emailing private
details in an email attachment to everyone.
According to a report by the CBC, the GCA sent people an email, but the attachment contained private details for all the Canadian citizens, including address, date of birth, emails, phone numbers and passport numbers.
Making matters worse, the email didn’t just land in the
inbox of 247 people. Many of them forwarded the emails, amplifying the breach.
The authorities have set up a small team that deals with the fallout and talks
with the affected parties.
One of the most problematic pieces of information
contained in the breach is the passport number, which means that people are now
looking to change them as quickly as possible.
As usual, people will have to keep an eye on their
finances and private details in a search for anything out of the ordinary, even
if credit card numbers and other financial data weren’t leaked. At the very
least, people should be subscribing to a credit monitoring service.