The US Customs and Border Protection Agency (or CBP) was recently alerted to a cyberattack on a subcontractor that collected and stored identifying images of travelers arriving at a Canadian border crossing. Keep reading for everything you want to know.
The current count of individuals affected is at 100,000, causing quite a stir with US Government officials and policymakers. The tense political climate surrounding the rise of new strategies for documenting incoming and outgoing border travelers has only escalated in the past couple of months as lawmakers consider implementing new technologies at US border crossings.
How did this happen?
Federal officials believe that the individuals behind the cyberattack hacked into the security cameras and facial recognition database of a CBP subcontractor based at a US-Canadian point of entry.
The nature of the information contained on the subcontractor’s server is both extremely sensitive, and very useful to many cybercriminals, therefore making it a lucrative target.
What was stolen in the attack?
The CBP subcontractor that was targeted in the attack mainly collected images of travelers’ faces, facial recognition data, and license plates. It is estimated that over 100,000 individuals were affected by this breach.
These kinds of key personal identifiers being exposed in a cyberattack will likely have significant implications as lawmakers and government officials hold discussions about what kind of information should be collected at US borders, and the level of security needed to protect this information from vulnerabilities and malicious third-parties.
What can you do to lessen the fallout of a cyberattack?
Unfortunately, if someone else who stores your data is hacked there isn’t much you can do protect yourself. However, you can and should always protect your own devices:
- Always back up your valuable data. No one wants to lose important work documents or treasured family photos, so make sure you back up your documents and images to a cloud-based service (i.e. Google Drive), or a storage device (i.e. an external hard drive).
- Secure your devices to prevent incoming cyberattacks. Make sure that you have an active and up-to-date antivirus protection program and that you regularly scan your computer for infections and malware with your FixMeStick. You can also access the FixMeStick-exclusive discount on McAfee Total Protection here.
- Create strong and unique passwords. Having a hard-to-crack password on all of your accounts makes your sensitive data less vulnerable to cyberattacks. Need ideas for how to make a strong password? Check out our guide here.
Do you have more questions about what to do if you’ve been the target of a cyberattack? Let us know in the comments below and we will give you all the information you need!