Massive South African data leak – Now over 75 million records at risk

A leaked database containing the personal details of millions of South Africans may not be the only sensitive information available online.

The leaked database backup file – called “masterdeeds.sql” – was stored on the webserver of Jigsaw Holdings and was said to have 60 million records in it.

It has now emerged that the company’s database server was also poorly secured.

SensePost CTO Dominic White, speaking at the 2017 MyBroadband Conference, said security researchers easily obtained the login credentials of Jigsaw’s database server.

The live database contained millions more records than the backup file.

While copies of the live database are not as readily available as the backup file, security researchers said we should assume the data is in the hands of hackers.

Data exposed in the original leak included full names, ID numbers, addresses, employment details, and contact details.

Details exposed

With the personal details of almost every South African leaked, the next question is how can we protect ourselves.

Security professionals stated there is little South Africans can do to prevent someone misusing their personal data.

Basic steps to take, however, include implementing security practices such as strong passwords and two-factor authentication.

These measures may not protect you against fraud or similar crimes, though.

Ensuring you are signed up for transaction notifications from your bank and having access to your credit report from a credit bureau will help you identify fraudulent activity.

Manie van Schalkwyk, of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, said consumers can apply for free Protective Registration on the SAFPS if they suspect fraud in their name.

“This will provide the consumer with added security and will alert the credit provider or the bank that the specific ID number has been compromised.”

White said that as clients, we must pressure institutions to be more suspicious when verifying someone’s identity.

“I also hope that this leak discourages companies from holding on to more data than they need to do business – that they start seeing it as toxic and expensive to keep.”

Now read: South Africa’s data leak contains IDs of 12.5 million children

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Massive South African data leak – Now over 75 million records at risk