It has been reported that the French authorities have announced that the personal data of almost 9,000 people who applied for a French visa have been put at risk. It was due to a cyber attack against the country’s official visa application website that took place a month ago, on August 10. According to a press release issued by the French Ministry of Interior on September 3, the jeopardised data included email addresses and basic identity information given during the application process, such as name, date of birth, nationality, and passport/identity card number. However, there are no revealed details regarding the number of affected applicants.
<p>News from French authorities that a cyberattack led to the theft of personal information of over 9,000 people applying for a French visa is ironic but not surprising. We all have to realize that not only are enterprises being targeted but also governmental organizations and their third-party partners and vendors who collect and process highly sensitive PII. Nobody and no organization is safe, especially if the defensive strategy is to rely on traditional perimeter-based security models which isolate sensitive data but only protect the borders. Data-centric security, which protects the data itself, is a much better and safer option that can augment more traditional protection methods, because it focuses on protecting data elements themselves using techniques such as tokenization or format-preserving encryption. In these methods, innocuous representational data replaces sensitive data elements, so the actual information is incomprehensible and ultimately free from being leveraged by threat actors for their own gain. This incident purportedly isn’t far-reaching and doesn’t involve highly sensitive information. However, the next one might, either for this victim or even your own organization. Head off potentially catastrophic repercussions by augmenting your defensive posture with data-centric security. It’s a passport for your journey to a more secure data environment!</p>