Photos of people crossing the US border, taken over a month and a half, including images of their faces and vehicle numbers, were compromised in a malware attack on a subcontractor working with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), writes the Washington Post.
The agency was alerted to the data breach on May 31, officials said Monday, claiming that fewer than 100,000 people were exposed. It’s unknown how many were US citizens, nor the entry point compromised. There’s no evidence to suggest the data has been put up for sale on the dark web or other online marketplaces, but that doesn’t mean it’s not available in a closed circuit.
“CBP learned that a subcontractor, in violation of CBP policies and without CBP’s authorization or knowledge, had transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to the subcontractor’s company network,” reads an agency statement.
“Initial information indicates that the subcontractor violated mandatory security and privacy protocols outlined in their contract.”
CBP did not name the hacked federal subcontractor, but sources say it may be Perceptics, a license plate reading service company employed by the government to monitor checkpoints, as well as in domestic surveillance. Perceptics was, in fact, breached in May, when internal documents were allegedly leaked on the dark web. The alias responsible for the attack is “Boris Bullet-Dodger.” The DEA had also been collaborating with Perceptics and may have been affected by the data breach.
Perceptics has not made any comments.