Personal data of nine million Israelis posted online

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Details emerged this week of an Israeli government contract worker believed to be behind a massive information theft case, in which the personal data of millions of Israeli citizens' was stolen and subsequently posted online in a searchable database.

How many victims? More than nine million.

What type of personal information? Identification numbers, full names, addresses, dates of birth, information on family relationships, and other details.

What happened? According to authorities, in 2006, an Israeli government contractor made a copy of the data, which came from the country's "Population Registry," and took it home from work.

Details: The stolen information was then sold or provided for free to several individuals, including a developer who created a software program called “Agron 2006,” which allowed for detailed queries of the data. This searchable database was then uploaded to the internet by an individual with the alias “aRi,” who attempted to conceal his IP address.

Quote: The uploading of the database “will make it easier to carry out forgery and fraud, and provide the necessary information to carry out identity theft," Israel's Justice Ministry said in a statement. "It helps create fraudulent documents that appear authentic, therefore allowing people to bypass security systems. It could also have an effect on the democratic processes in elections, in that it makes it easier for someone to impersonate someone else in the voting booth."

What was the response? The Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority has been investigating the case since 2009. Six people have been arrested in connection to the data leak, including the government contractor and “aRi.”

Sources: www.jpost.com, The Jerusalem Post, “Contract worker stole all Israelis' personal information,” Oct. 24, 2011.

www.jpost.com, The Jerusalem Post, “Justice Ministry cracks case of massive information theft,” Oct. 25, 2011.

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