Images of perhaps thousands of people crossing the US-Mexico border have been stolen, according to the United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). In one of the latest hack attacks that happened in U.S. soil, it is believed that less than 100,000 images of people inside the vehicles were stolen based on the initial reports not to mention the images of the vehicle license plates.
US-Mexico Border Security Cams Hacked
According to CBP, the images were captured over a six-week period. The hackers purportedly found their way into the database of a government subcontractor.
“Initial information indicates that the subcontractor violated mandatory security and privacy protocols outlined in their contract,” CBP said in a statement as posted on the National Public Radio website.
The agency did not name the subcontractor. Reports suggested that CBP learned of the breach on May 31 though they believed that none of the images had yet surfaced on the internet or Dark Web. The agency clarified that no CBP systems were compromised.
Responsibility of the Government
“If the government collects sensitive information about Americans, it is responsible for protecting it — and that’s just as true if it contracts with a private company,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. The senator added, “Anyone whose information was compromised should be notified by Customs, and the government needs to explain exactly how it intends to prevent this kind of breach from happening in the future.”
Meanwhile, Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, believe that the government’s database had become a target for hackers and cybercriminals.
“This breach comes just as CBP seeks to expand its massive face recognition apparatus and collection of sensitive information from travelers, including license plate information and social media identifiers,” Guliani said. “This incident further underscores the need to put the brakes on these efforts and for Congress to investigate the agency’s data practices. The best way to avoid breaches of sensitive personal data is not to collect and retain it in the first place.”