USA says its traveler database was exposed in a cyber attack

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    USA says its traveler database was exposed in a cyber attack Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents prepare to open a pedestrian crossing in San Diego, Califonia. EFE / Archive

     Washington, – The US Customs and Border Protection Office. (CBP, for its acronym in English) reported Monday that images of license plates of vehicles and travelers stored in its database were exposed by a cyber attack against a contractor’s network.

    In a communication attributable to a spokesperson, the CPB indicated that on May 31 he learned that a subcontractor, “in violation” of his policies and without his authorization or knowledge, had transferred to his network “copies of the images” of the registrations and of the travelers that enter the United States.

    “The subcontractor’s network was later compromised by a malicious cyber attack, and no CBP system was compromised,” the press release added.

    CBP said it has alerted members of Congress and is working with other law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity entities, as well as its own Office of Professional Responsibility, “to actively investigate the incident.”

    “At the moment, no image of the database has been identified” on the Internet, the spokeswoman said.

    The entity said it will “work tirelessly” to determine “the extent of the violation and the appropriate response.”

    In addition, he signaled the subcontractor to violate “the mandatory security and privacy protocols described in his contract”, and confirmed that he has removed all the equipment related to the event from the service and that he is supervising the work done with that signature, which he did not identify.

    The Washington Post, which initially disclosed the violation of the database, said that CBP uses cameras and video recordings at airports and land border crossings, where it captures images of vehicle license plates.

    These images, the version added, are used in a facial recognition program designed to track the identity of people entering and leaving the United States.

    Although the Post pointed out that CBP said that operations at the airports were not affected, it indicated that the agency refused to specify how many images of people may have been stolen.

    According to the newspaper, that agency processes on an average day more than one million passengers and pedestrians crossing the borders. (EFE)

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