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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
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
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
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.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.