30 Million South African Citizens Affected by Data Breach
South African authorities are investigating a data breach that may have affected at least 30 million South Africans, which is more than half of South Africa’s 54 million population.
Security researcher Troy Hunt was the first to discover the 27GB file that contained this personal information. The file included names, identity numbers, marital status, income, gender, employment history, phone numbers and home addresses. The database was published to a public website where anyone could view or download it. It is unclear how it ended up there.
The State Security Agency (SSA) has not provided many details about the breach and told the BBC they are looking into the matter. SSA spokesperson Brian Dube said, “There is an investigation. We are obviously very concerned.”
It seems as if much of the stolen information belonged to children—some under three-years-old. “I was pretty stunned to see that 19% of the records in there [the stolen data] are apparently children. That’s not including teenagers either and if we add them, that figure jumps to 29%,” Hunt said in his blog.
Concerned individuals can check Hunt’s website to see if their information has been exposed. Hunt said he discovered 2.2 million unique emails in the data.
“I’ve loaded the 2.2 million unique email addresses in the data set into HIBP. You can search for your email there now and it will give you a yes or no answer as to whether it exists, but obviously the addresses only represent a small portion of the overall data set,” Hunt said.
Hunt said he will not be uploading personal identification numbers to his website, as it is sensitive data.