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Massive data breach by credit service agency in South Africa

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A massive data breach at credit service agency Experian South Africa has exposed the personal information of South African citizens and businesses. 

The company said their investigations led them to believe that an individual hacked their database by pretending to represent a legitimate client. As a result, they gained access to client information.

Experian has identified the suspect and their hardware has since been impounded so that the data gained can be deleted. 

The data breach appears to have exposed as many as as 24 million South Africans and the information of nearly 800 000 businesses. However, Experian assured the public that no consumer credit or consumer financial information was obtained.

"Our investigations do not indicate that any misappropriated data has been used for fraudulent purposes. Our investigations also show that the suspect had intended to use the data to create marketing leads to offer insurance and credit-related services," said the company. 

"Experian South Africa bureau’s infrastructure, systems and database have not been compromised." 

Data breaches are now a part of our lives as a result of increase reliance on computers and data systems. While security measures can be put in place by companies, often breaks or human error allow for such breaches to occur. 

Despite assuring their clients, Experian are advising anyone who may be concerned to regularly check their credit report, just to make sure their information has not been used without their knowledge. 

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.