Monster.com | Consumer Alert | Job search privacy — According to the job site Monster.com, its users’ IDs and passwords, email addresses, names, phone numbers, and some “basic demographic data” were compromised in a data breach. Monster notified victims of the security breach through its web site on Friday, January 23, 2009. It is unclear how many people this notice impacts, as Monster.com did not give an estimate. In press reports, however, Monster has admitted that the breach is global, with Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe being spared. Job seekers’ information can be used like a road map for criminal ventures, including identity theft, phishing and spamming. User passwords, which Monster.com says were compromised in this breach, are especially valuable as they can potentially be used to access other sites or email accounts, especially if a person regularly uses the same passwords. The World Privacy Forum has published a consumer alert about this data breach with tips for victims. This data breach also impacts USAjobs.com, the government job search site affiliated wiith Monster.com.
Medical identity theft is a crime that harms people and it is a crime that hides itself. This combination makes medical identity theft an insidious crime. It can cause extraordinary damages and harms to its individual and institutional victims. And once begun, the harmful effects of this crime can linger in the lives of its victims for years or even decades.
Consumer alert update — Monster.com posted a warning on its site stating that all users of Monster.com may have been impacted by the data breach of its systems by hackers. All job seekers need to be aware of potential phishing attacks that are sophisticated and highly targeted, and job seekers with safety considerations need to be aware that their information has likely been compromised. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has announced that the Federal job site USAJobs (which is outsourced to Monster.com) has also been impacted by the breach. The World Privacy Forum has updated its job seeking tips, and its consumer alert.
World Privacy Forum information and materials on medical privacy topics.
Data breach | GAO data breach study — The World Privacy Forum made an information request to the GAO asking for a copy of the single, non-duplicative list of data breaches its June, 2007 data breach report (GAO -07-737) refers to and was based on. The list was not included in the GAO report. The GAO used a figure in its report of “more than 570 data breaches” from January 2005 to December 2006 based on this non-duplicative breach list. The GAO breach list is straightforward, it tallies data breaches chronologically from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2006 from three organizations that maintain data breach lists. If the breach appeared on at least one of the three lists, it was apparently included in the final tally. The GAO states that the list was based on a February 15, 2007 download of the lists.
Note: the WPF scan of the GAO list includes the first page twice. The front page of the scan is of the GAO list as it looks in the original document, and then the list was scanned for maximum readability into PDF format.