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USA customs says traveller images exposed in cyber attack

USA customs says traveller images exposed in cyber attack”

The attackers struck by targeting a third-party subcontractor, which had been storing the sensitive files over its own network. As BuzzFeed News reported Citing earlier reporting, Buzzfeed pointed out that "CBP is scrambling to implement the initiative with the goal of using facial recognition technology on '100 percent of all global passengers, ' including American citizens, in the top 20 United States airports by 2021".

The presence of Perceptics in the Word doc title would reconfirm the exclusive Register report from May 23 that Perceptics, a maker of license-plate reader hardware and software extensively used at the U.S. government's borders and checkpoints, had been ransacked by hackers, who made off with and dumped on the dark web a snapshot of its entire IT estate.

The CBP did not say if photos of British tourists had been involved in the data breach, which involved fewer than 100,000 people.

The CPB processes almost 400 million travelers at ports of entry annually.

In a statement, a CBP spokesperson said none of the leaked images have turned up yet on the Dark Web or internet.

CBP said it discovered the issue on 31 May, and that the subcontractor had transferred the data "without CBP's authorization or knowledge" in violation of "mandatory security and privacy protocols outlined in their contract".

Buzzfeed, also among the first to report on the breach on Monday, noted that the "cyberattack comes amid the ongoing rollout of CBP's "biometric entry-exit system", the government initiative to biometrically verify the identities of all travelers crossing USA borders".

So far, Customs and Border Protection has not commented on whether today's reported breach is related to Perceptics.

It is unclear if the CBP report refers to the same incident, or a different one.

The images of travelers were captured as part of a facial-recognition program. The official said data from travelers crossing the Canadian border was also included. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a statement to The Post. CBP also keeps videos and photos from global airports and border crossings, including photos of license plates. "This incident further underscores the need to put the brakes on these efforts and for Congress to investigate the agency's data practices". The subcontractor's network was then attacked and breached.

The statement highlights that "no CBP systems were compromised", meaning it was only the subcontractor whose security was breached. Police agencies have also used the data to look for potential criminal suspects.

Perceptics, the Tennessee-based imaging software company, confirmed it was aware of the hack in an email to the Register.

'We must ensure we are not expanding the use of biometrics at the expense of the privacy of the American public, ' he said in a statement reported by the Hill.

The federal government, as well as the group of private contractors it works with, has access to a swelling database of people's cars and faces, which it says is necessary to enhance security and enforce border laws.

A representative didn't tell TechCrunch how much data had been taken, or how many American citizens were caught up in the breach.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he meant to hold hearings next month on the Homeland Security Department's use of biometric information.

"Government use of biometric and personal identifiable information can be valuable tools only if utilized properly".



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