News and Updates on Information Technology

Australia – Localsearch

Exploit: Accidental data exposure
Localsearch: Internet marketing service

Risk to Small Business: 1.363 = Extreme

Localsearch published a directory of unlisted numbers, running afoul of the country’s data privacy laws. The move resulted in a formal warning from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after it conducted an investigation into the mishap, which occurred when the company failed to remove unlisted numbers when culling information from the Integrated Public Number Databases. It was the first warning issued by the ACMA, and it serves as a reminder that businesses that don’t comply with data privacy standards can expect that there will be repercussions for their actions.

Individual Risk: 1.602 = Severe

An unspecified amount of unlisted phone numbers were published in the company’s directory. Although Localsearch has taken steps to remove this information, it’s possible that private information is already in the hands of bad actors. Those impacted should carefully scrutinize unexpected or unusual communications, as this information could be used in phishing scams or other fraud attempts.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Adhering to the growing list of data privacy standards can be challenging, even for companies with vast financial and personnel resources to address the problem. However, now more than ever, it’s clear that businesses will need to adopt policies and practices to secure sensitive or regulated data as a part of their day-to-day operations and watch carefully for Dark Web threats to that data.