Thousands of people who applied to rent houses from a Wellington property management company called LPM between 2014 and 2017 may need to check that their ID is still secure. The company kept scanned copies of important documents such as passports and birth certificates on an unsecured database that was easy to access. This means that applicants whose documents were in the database have been at risk of identity theft. We don’t know if anyone stole their IDs, but they could have. The company has now secured the database and will start contacting the people involved to warn them of the possible danger.
The data leak was discovered in May this year by Vadix Solutions in Ireland. They say that they tried to warn LPM but their warnings were ignored. Vadix Solutions informed a news website called cybernews who then contacted Amazon Web Services, who fixed the problem on June 15. LPM say that they discovered the leak before Vadix Solutions did, and resolved the issue on June 11. At first, LPM decided not to warn the applicants involved because they believe nobody has accessed the files. However, we know that both Vadix and Cybernews accessed the database, so this is not completely true. Now LPM have started to call applicants who may be affected.
People affected may need to renew their ID, and can get advice from CERT NZ, a government organisation that helps with cyber security.
applicant: somebody who applies for something.
apply to: If you apply to do something, it means that you ask for permission to do something.
property management: the business of looking after rental properties
secure: safe from hackers and other people who should not read the information
unsecured: easy to access or hack
access: get into a place or a website
at risk of: in danger of
identity theft: when someone uses your ID.
resolved the issue: solved the problem, fixed the problem
cyber security: internet and computer safety