Australian Red Cross data breach biggest in country's history

American Red Cross announces blood donation dates for early November
Australian Red Cross data breach biggest in country's history
Author

29 October, 2016

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has issued an apology after personal details of 550,000 blood donors were leaked online in one of the country's largest ever data breaches. The details were from donors who registered between 2010 and 2016. She claimed that IDCARE, an identity & cyber support service, estimated that the breach is of low risk for any misuse in the future.

Chris Culnane, a University of Melbourne programming languages and human-computer interaction expert, said it was worth pointing out that those who completed the Red Cross online questionnaire had done so so before filling out their personal details.

While some commentators have praised the organisation for the way it responded to the breach - described as the worst in Australia to date - others have been critical of the lax attitude to security that led to the breach in the first place.

The service has also notified donors, including via SMS messages sent out this afternoon.

Those who were notified that they were on the Red Cross' leaked file have been warned to remain vigilant to scams, online or offline, that may utilize their personal information in phishing attacks for fraudulent purposes.

Investigations are continuing and the Australian Federal Police and Australian Cyber Security Centre have been informed of the breach. Earlier this week, through a tip off, he obtained that 1.76GB worth of data from donateblood.com.au which is run by the Red Cross.

He didn't believe the person who found it was targeting the Red Cross.

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The backup database was published to a publicly facing website, which had directory browsing enabled on the server, according to Hunt.

Human rights lawyer George Newhouse said the incident reinforced the need for the mandatory reporting of data breaches.

Dr Dreyfus said many organisations do not respond very well to this type of data breach and often refuse to take responsibility.

"This information was copied by a person scanning for security vulnerabilities", the statement said. This is really the heart of the problem because no way, no how should that ever happen.

"My office encourages voluntary notification of data breaches, particularly where there is a risk to an individual as a result of a breach".

"The results of that investigation will be made public at its conclusion", he was quoted saying in a statement.

Park apologised for the data leak but stressed it did not include any medical information belonging to the donors. "Because there are many eligibility questions for each donor, there are a total of 7,343,537 answers in the system and naturally, many of these relate to the question of at-risk sexual behaviour", Mr Hunt wrote.


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