Employee Loses Flash Drives Holding the Personal Data of an Entire City

Andrei Tapalaga

The flash drives, containing the personal data of 460,000 residentsWebandi/Pixabay

Many people after work like to have a nice drink with their friends or even work colleagues, especially on Friday night after a long week. This tradition within the work culture is especially respected in Japan where almost all employees go out for drinks after work.

An unnamed man working for a company tasked with providing benefits to tax-exempt households in the city of Amagasaki, northwest of Osaka placed two flash drives containing data from work in his bag and headed out for drinks with his colleagues.

The man happened to have lost the two flash drives. This would not be the end of the world, but the flash drives contained the personal data of all 460,000 residents of Amagasaki. Based on a report from Japanese broadcaster NHK, the data on the flash drives included the names, birth dates, and addresses of all the city's residents.

As it has been pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, such data can be worth billions of dollars in the right hands, especially for big corporations as the lost data contains everything that a corporation needs to know about consumers of a local area. At the same time, the data could fall into the wrong hands or organized criminals that can sell it on the dark web for miscellaneous purposes such as creating fake IDs or credit cards.

Both of the flash drives were encrypted with a password, however, no matter how strong the password or encryption of the data is, this can be broken in time depending on the skill of the hacker. Thankfully for all parties involved, the local police officers managed to find the bag containing the flash drives outside of an apartment building in the city.

"We deeply regret that we have profoundly harmed the public's trust in the administration of the city," an Amagasaki city official told a press conference.

The company for whom the man in question works has not mentioned anything about the consequences the employee will suffer but has offered their deepest apologies for allowing the data of Amagasaki residents to be lost.

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