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Personal data of 243 million Brazilians left open online for months

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More than 243 million Brazilians have had their personal information exposed online due to a source code error present within the website belonging to the country’s ministry of health. The issue, which reportedly left data visible for at least six months, demonstrates yet again that basic cybersecurity protocols remain lacking within many organizations.

According to reports, the personal information of anyone registered with Brazil’s national health system could be viewed through relatively simple methods. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and medical details could be viewed, including those belonging to some individuals that have since passed away.

The problem centered on the fact that the credentials needed to access the database of personal information could be decoded from the source code of the health service’s website. As website source codes can be accessed via a simple keyboard shortcut, patient records were potentially exposed to a wide number of threat actors.

Security in poor health

Although there is currently no evidence that personal health records were accessed, it remains concerning just how easily they could have been. Heath records can contain highly sensitive information and cyberattackers are able to sell them for sizable sums on the black market.

Perhaps more worrying, the healthcare leak follows evidence of another web portal owned by the Brazilian government displaying similarly lax security credentials. What’s more, it is only a week since a Sao Paolo hospital leaked health information for more than 16 million Brazilian Covid-19 patients.

As healthcare providers have moved to embrace digital technologies they have undoubtedly unlocked a number of new efficiencies. Unfortunately, they have also introduced new vulnerabilities, ones that cyberattackers are always looking to exploit.

Via The Verge