Traveler, License Plate Photos Stolen in US Customs & Border Protection Breach

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says photos of travelers were taken in a data breach

US Customs and Border Protection says traveler images were taken in cyberattack

The presence of Perceptics in the Word doc title would reconfirm the exclusive Register report from May 23 that Perceptics, a maker of license-plate reader hardware and software extensively used at the USA government's borders and checkpoints, had been ransacked by hackers, who made off with and dumped on the dark web a snapshot of its entire IT estate. As BuzzFeed News reported Citing earlier reporting, Buzzfeed pointed out that "CBP is scrambling to implement the initiative with the goal of using facial recognition technology on '100 percent of all worldwide passengers, ' including American citizens, in the top 20 U.S. airports by 2021".

The best way to avoid these kinds of breaches, Guliani added, "is not to collect and retain such data in the first place". According to The Register, the uploaded database included files of locations, zip codes and images that appeared to be license plate captures.

The agency didn't name the contractor by name, but The Register reported on May 24 that a hacker named "Boris Bullet-Dodger" breached Perceptics, a company that provides license plate reader technology for the US-Mexico border, and then published the information online.

A CBP source said the images involved less than 100,000 people who were in vehicles entering and exiting the USA through a single border port of entry.

While El Reg last month reported the data was being offered on the Tor network for anyone to download if they could find it - and indeed, we found it on a hidden.onion website after a tipster alerted us to the leak - the CBP's carefully worded statement on Monday this week noted that "as of today, none of the image data has been identified on the dark web or internet".

The CBP did not say if photos of British tourists had been involved in the data breach, which involved fewer than 100,000 people.

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The hack took place after the images were transferred to the network of a private subcontractor, which CBP said was a violation of department policy.

"Initial information indicates that the subcontractor violated mandatory security and privacy protocols outlined in their contract", CBP said in a statement.

Immigration agents have used such databases to track down people who may be in the country illegally.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the cyber attack underscored the danger of collecting mass information on United States citizens.

The FBI has access to more than 640 million photos, including from passports and driver licenses, that it can scan with facial-recognition systems while conducting criminal investigations, a representative for the Government Accountability Office told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at a hearing last week. "We must ensure we are not expanding the use of biometrics at the expense of the privacy of the American public".

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