USB Containing Private Data On 460,000 Residents Lost In Japan

A contractor in Amagasaki, Japan, recently lost a memory stick with personal data on it after a night out on the town.

The man worked with the city to disburse subsidies from the pandemic. His employer released a statement noting that after passing out in the street one night, the man awoke to find that his bag had gone missing. An incident report filed with the city government of Amagasaki shows that the USB drive contained names, birth dates, banking info, addresses, and social security records of residents who lived there.

City officials noted that the USB was encrypted, and eventually found after a police search. There’s currently no evidence that the information was compromised, and Amagasaki officials apologized for breaking the public’s trust.

According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), thumb drives pose a particularly appealing avenue for attackers, due to their small size, cost, and portability. Cybercriminals can utilize USBs to infect computers with malware, or steal sensitive data directly from a computer. Some tips to help keep you safe, according to CISA, can be found below:

  • Never plug in an unknown USB stick into your computer
  • Use security features, such as encryption and passwords
  • Separate personal and business USB drives
  • Disable autorun, which causes thumb drives to open automatically when plugged into a computer
  • Keep software up to date to deter cybercriminals

While thumb drives are handy, they also pose a very real security risk. Make sure that any information you have on them, is secured, and you’re conscious of there whereabouts at all times.

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