Cyberattacks are nothing new, but these digital scourges are starting to pop up in more dangerous places than ever. An attack on a federal contractor working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection has potentially exposed private information about thousands of travelers crossing the border.
What’s worse, the data was stolen from a system that’s already proven controversial with American citizens.
If you’ve traveled recently, or know anyone who has, you won’t want to miss this news.
The Department of Homeland Security is alerting travelers about a cyberattack that took place against a federal subcontractor that works closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. This company primarily is used to deploy security cameras at border checkpoints and ports of entry — facial recognition cameras, to be precise.
These cameras are used to capture the faces of drivers and their cars’ license plates as they pass through the border. Although this program has been controversial with U.S. citizens, the government has insisted on its use to curb illegal immigration, terrorism and a host of other border-related concerns.
It makes sense too since a potentially dangerous figure can be easily spotted and identified as they’re crossing into the country. The system can also help catch suspicious back-and-forth drivers between the U.S. and its neighbors by comparing data it captures with law enforcement records.
Unfortunately, storing facial recognition data, photos and license plate images in one place made the government-backed system a hot target for hackers. According to the release, the information stolen by hackers includes thousands of photographs of drivers, as well as their vehicles and license plates.
Using this data, criminals can easily falsify identities, or gather information based on motor vehicle records — many of which are available online for little to no charge.