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Vodafone Aus web portal credentials escape, media panic

The internet's not just Tweets, porn and lolcats? Who knew?

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Australian media has fallen into a bout of panic following the discovery that, in addition to cat pictures, newspaper paywall gateways, pornography and illegally-copied music and movies, the Internet is used as a business communications medium.

The victim of this revelation is Vodafone, which uses a Web portal to provide database access to its sales staff and those of its business partners. Staff and partners have logins that allow them access to customer data on that database and – quelle surprise – those logins seem to have been leaking.

And what appears to be criminal activity to persuade those holding logins to hand over their passwords (presumably using a mix of bribes and threats) has gathered steam as a purported Internet-borne mass breach of Vodafone’s security. The story started with the Sun-Herald (tabloid Sunday morning sister to the Sydney Morning Herald) asserting that the "personal details of millions of Vodafone customers" were "publicly available on the Internet".

Vodafone has since stated that the misuse of login credentials probably came either from a dealer or from an employee. Vodafone Australia’s CEO Nigel Dews was quoted by ABC News as saying that the company is investigating the breach and threatened to pursue those responsible "with the full force of the law".

Everyone else with a Web-based business portal – banks, insurers, government departments and the like – is presumably awaiting the media’s discovery that Vodafone isn't Australia's only business user of the Internet. ®

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