Son of a Breach! It's happened again.

25 May 2018

 

Massive South African Breach Puts Citizens at Risk. 

 

South Africans have had their personal data breached again, and this time their passwords have been exposed.


If you’ve ever paid a traffic fine online or signed up for a traffic fine alert service, you are at risk of identity theft and it’s high time you took action to protect yourself. Information from the database of a popular South African traffic fine payment service has been exposed to prying eyes.


If you are in the list, your personal identifiable information (PII) has been exposed and your name and surname, ID number, e-mail address, and password, which (unbelievably) was stored in plain text in a backup copy of the exposed database, is now in the hands of potential fraudsters.

 

This latest assault on South African’s privacy was made public on Wednesday the 23rd of May 2018 by serial breach exposer Troy Hunt, of HaveIbeenPwned fame, who became a household name in South Africa last year when he broke the news of the ‘Master Deeds’ data breach, which laid bare the identity records of approximately 60 million South Africans. You may be thinking “But South Africa doesn’t have 60 million citizens”, but this dataset also included deceased identities – virtual gold for fraudsters looking to misrepresent themselves and pass themselves off as someone else.


Hunt worked closely with Tefo Mohapi, founder of iAfrikan Digital to analyse the extent of the breach and confirm the circumstances around the exposure. Mohapi confirmed that over 930 000 records were left unsecured and unencrypted for the willing data thief to download at will and use as they please.


“So what?” You may ask… “Let the fraudsters pay my traffic fines”, and you won’t be alone in thinking that way, but considering most people use the same passwords on multiple websites, including their banking platforms and other sensitive sites, the risk is immense.


With many call centres simply asking incoming callers to answer a few personal questions to verify their identities, fraudsters can easily pass themselves off as you and initiate an email address or even a password change and get unfettered access to all your account detail.


The threat is real, and it’s about time we did something about it, but what can you do?


Well, for one you should consider changing your passwords on a regular basis, but that’s a no-brainer. Secondly, the use of password management software that generates long and strong passwords for you is highly recommended.


But what can you do to hide the information that has already been exposed? The short answer is… NOTHING!


A good analogy would be trying to push running water back into an open tap. It’s just not possible. The only option available to you is to protect yourself against the effects of your information being firmly in the hands of an identity thief. That you CAN do!


As South Africa’s oldest and largest Identity Verification platform, ThisIsMe is uniquely placed to help you keep your identity protected and safeguard you against having your credit record completely obliterated by identity thieves.


This week sees the launch of FutureProtect, ThisIsMe’s comprehensive identity monitoring and protection product.
FutureProtect alerts you when your information is exposed in data breaches from all over the world.

It highlights significant changes to your credit information in real-time and lets you know when someone makes use of your identity to gain access to financial services. Much like a second-factor process protects your bank account (if it’s even enabled), FutureProtect protects your financial and reputational future.


As a victim of identity theft, it’s not only you that suffers - your family is just as badly affected, especially if you are the breadwinner. Financial crime from identity theft can leave victims destitute, with little chance of recovery. FutureProtect not only keeps you in the know, but also gives you access to the funds needed to restore your financial wellbeing. This can cost hundreds of thousands of Rands, in legal fees alone.


If money is removed from your accounts, FutureProtect provides a range of ‘Loss-of-funds’ protection options that will get you back on your feet fast, giving you the peace of mind you need at a particularly difficult time.

You’ve worked hard your entire life to build what you have, and it can all disappear overnight if you don’t take proactive steps to safeguard yourself and your family.


Take a stand against identity theft today and follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Check to see if you’re exposed. You can do this for free using our free breach checker tool at www.ThisisMe.com.
  • Step2: Sign up for early access to ThisIsMe’s FutureProtect platform. You will receive a welcome email on launch day next week.
  • Step 3: Look out for identity alerts from FutureProtect and let your bank know the moment any unexpected activity takes place.


Your future self will thank you…


David Thomas, MD at ThisIsMe.com

ThisIsMe is South Africa's premiere Identity Verification and Management platform and the only User-controlled Identity Management facility that offers comprehensive identity assurance to bank level standards. David Thomas is a co-founder of ThisIsMe. All enquiries can be directed to info@thisisme.com | +27 21 422 3995. | www.ThisIsMe.com

Back to Blogs