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Day drinker loses a city’s worth of data


A municipal worker who went on a day-long drinks bender managed to lose a USB stick containing personal information about the entire population of their city.

The lost storage device contained data including names, addresses, welfare details, and dates of birth pertaining to the city’s 460,000 residents.

The careless employee – who worked for a company tasked with rolling out a COVID relief program in Amagasaki in western Japan – lost a bag containing the USB stick during a day of drinking and eating.

“The one piece of good news to emerge from this story is that the drive was both encrypted and password protected,” said Malwarebytes. “Providing they used a good password, if someone finds the USB drive and plugs it into a computer, they won’t be able to just open up the files and view the contents.”

At the time of writing, no evidence has emerged suggesting that the data has been compromised, and neither the company nor the employee have been named. The portable drive is thought to have been in the worker’s possession because it was being “transferred to a call center in Osaka.”

“There are plenty of alternatives to ferrying data around on easily lost USB sticks,” said Malwarebytes, suggesting secure file transfer or cloud technologies as an alternative. “Anything along these lines is surely better than ‘I lost a USB stick on a night out.’”

It can only be assumed that the residents of Amagasaki are inclined to agree.


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