POLITICS

Labour alerts Justice Ministry to gaping security hole in its website

Tuesday 9 April 2013, 4:32PM
By Labour Party
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Labour’s Information Technology spokesperson, Clare Curran, has today alerted the Ministry of Justice of a serious security flaw in its website.

The vulnerability leaves the personal and financial details of tens of thousands of New Zealanders potentially exposed, and might allow a malicious person to redirect payments to and from members of the public.

“This is a very serious matter.  This is yet another gaping hole in the security of a major government site, with privacy and financial implications for a huge number of people,” says Clare Curran.

The security flaw allows access to Ministry of Justice passwords and databases, via a publicly accessible search engine on its website.

“The Ministry of Justice holds incredibly sensitive data – including information about the victims of crime.  The Government has a fundamental duty to protect that information.  This flaw, if exploited, could have a devastating effect on thousands of people.

“Earlier today I wrote to the Ministry of Justice, the Minister Judith Collins and the Privacy Commissioner alerting them to the issue, which must be addressed urgently.

“This matter was brought to my attention by a whistle-blower.  That person has agreed to help the Ministry of Justice in any way they can to ensure the security flaw is fixed.

“This is the latest in a disturbingly long line of information technology security flaws and privacy breaches.  There is clearly a major systemic problem with IT security.

“In the past two years more than 100,000 Kiwis have had their privacy breached by government agencies, including the ACC, MSD, IRD and EQC.  This is an issue of public trust and confidence in government systems.

“The National Government needs to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves, and stop hiding behind human error as an excuse for not protecting people’s private information,” says Clare Curran.