Feeds

Privacy breach nuked in Canadian passport site

Applicants' intimate details free for the taking

High performance access to file storage

Red-faced Canadian passport officials say they've closed a privacy breach on their website that leaked the personal information of applicants, including their driver's license numbers, birth dates - even whether they owned a gun.

The hole was discovered last week by an Ontario man who found a simple way to cause the Passport Canada site to volunteer information about people he never even met. Altering the URL that was in the address bar of his browser while viewing his own application, he found it was possible to view the applications of others.

Passport officials called Jamie Laning's experience "an isolated anomaly" and insisted their site remained highly secure. But The Globe and Mail, which broke the story on Tuesday, said the website continued to reveal applicants' names, home addresses and emergency contacts, after resuming operation yesterday afternoon. (Story is here.)

"This is precisely the sort of information a bank might ask someone to confirm they are who they claim to be before giving them a mortgage," said Carlisle Adams, a professor specializing in privacy and network security at the University of Ottawa.

Passport Canada's gaffe is the latest example of a large government agency having trouble safeguarding its citizens' personal information. Last month the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs lost child benefit records relating to 25 million people. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has also exposed the records of 25.6 million people following the theft of a laptop.

Jamie Laning, the 47-year-old IT worker who discovered the breach, informed passport officials of the breach last week, and the site was temporarily closed through Monday. A Passport Canada representative acknowledged a security problem to The Globe and Mail, but said the outage was caused by different problems.

We'd be interested in hearing from Canadian citizens about whether the breach on the Passport Canada site has, in fact, been fixed. Leave your comments below. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.