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U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Report Hacker Stole Facial Recognition Images, License Plate Data


- June 11th, 2019
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On Monday, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agency reported that a hackers stole license plate and facial recognition data from a company with which the agency contracts.

“As of today, none of the image data has been identified on the Dark Web or internet,” CBP said. “CBP has alerted Members of Congress and is working closely with other law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity entities, and its own Office of Professional Responsibility to actively investigate the incident,” they said in a statement. The agency was alerted to the breach on May 31.

The agency also said they do not know how much of the data belonged to U.S. citizens.

The federal agency did not name the subcontractor whose computer network was hacked but the announcement followed news that a Tennessee-based company that bills itself as the sole provider of stationary license plate readers at U.S. borders had been compromised.

A Customs spokesman said initial reports indicated that the images involved fewer than 100,000 people; photographs were taken of travelers in vehicles entering and exiting the United States through a few specific lanes at a single land-border port of entry over 1 1/2 months. No other identifying information was included with the images.

It was not clear how many of those affected were U.S. citizens.

The thief reported his crime to the U.K. website The Register and provided a list of data he had taken. “Initial information indicates that the subcontractor violated mandatory security and privacy protocols outlined in their contract,” CBP said in a statement. None of the CBP’s databases were breached.

(Image from Getty Images.)

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