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BT latest supplier to become entangled in ACS:Law porn list leak

Thu 30 Sep, 2010 // Firstnumber Team

Telecoms giant BT has become the latest service provider to be accused of breaching the Data Protection Act after over 500 customers' details were leaked.

At the request of law firm ACS: Law – who were investigating illegal downloading and sharing of pronographic films – BT sent the details of customers in an unencrypted email.

The details were sent as Excel files to ACS:Law by Prakash Mistry, a lawyer working for BT's legal team.

Following an attack by internet activists, 4chan, ACS:Law's email database was leaked online; subsequently revealing the details of hundreds of BT customers accused of illegal downloading.

Speaking to BBC News, Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer of security firm Imperva, explained how the information security breach happened:

"Hackers had one point in mind - to cripple the services of the law firm, to disrupt business services and cause humiliation," he said.

"Since ACS:Law's site was corrupted, they've reconstructed it from a back-up location which also included archive files with sensitive information.

"In the reconstruction process - which was probably done in haste - the archives with the sensitive data were copied to publicly accessible locations in the reconstructed website.

"Attackers immediately took advantage of that and downloaded them. They are now going through the stuff in those archives and are making public the 'interesting' data that they find.

"The more time they have to review the files the more public stuff we should expect to find," he added.

If BT are found to have breached the Data Protection Act, they could be fined around £500,000.

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