Your ID number is online – Why that’s bad and what you can do

South Africans last week learned that over 60 million ID numbers and other personal data had been online for anybody with a bit of technical know how to grab.

How long that information was available is unclear, as is who is currently in possession of this data.

At first the data – discovered by Troy Hunt – was believed to be tied to property given the data set was labelled as “masterdeeds”. This morning we discovered that the dataset also contained the records of 12.4 million minors.

South Africans are understandably concerned.

The trouble is that unlike a hack of an email service or social network a person can’t just change their ID number like they can change their passwords.


To find out how South Africans can mitigate the damage that has been done (if at all) htxt.africa spoke to Keegan Ackerman, formerly a security consultant and currently an account manager at ESET South Africa.

Simply put, with the amount of personal data floating around in cyberspace users need to now be vigilant. “Make sure that there is no identity theft happening and be scrutinous of the sorts of mails you are getting,” says Ackerman.

You can listen to the full interview with Ackerman below which includes why we absolutely need the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act explained to come into play and how to secure yourself moving forward.

The Direct Marketing Association of South Africa issued advice for South Africans that have been affected.

“Check whether your information has been used to apply for credit (e.g. loans). You can do this by applying for a free online credit check with one of the credit bureaus, like TransUnion,” said DMASA.

South Africans can also register with the South African Fraud Prevention Service if they have been compromised.

This story was originally published on htxt.africa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Corporates: A force for good for a sustainable future

In order to see people and nature thrive what is required is a strong focus on partnerships – we cannot act alone anymore

Cartoon by Carlos: No escapé for Senor Agrrizi

Angelo Agrizzi will have to enjoy the South African government’s hospitality for the time being

Combatting wildlife crime in Southern Africa activity annual programme statement (APS) No. 04

Concept papers are sought for implementating activities, for a multi-faceted programme that aims to reduce poaching and illegal trade in wildlife

The demon of cronyism in the public service must be crushed

When employees do not give their best, it is the organisation that suffers the most. In the case of government this directly affects citizens

Fake trafficking news targets migrants

Exaggerated reports on social media of human trafficking syndicates snatching people in broad daylight legitimate xenophobia while deflecting from the real problems in society

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures are relaxed or ignored

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Fake trafficking news targets migrants

Exaggerated reports on social media of human trafficking syndicates snatching people in broad daylight legitimate xenophobia while deflecting from the real problems in society

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday