SA companies urged to take data protection more seriously after Experian breach

A fraudster was given access to the personal data of 24 million South Africans and almost 800,000 businesses were exposed.

Picture: Darwin Laganzon on Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG - South African companies have been called on to take the protection of personal information seriously after a major data breach by the world's biggest credit data firm, Experian.

A fraudster was given access to the personal data of 24 million South Africans and almost 800,000 businesses were exposed.

The firm said no consumer credit or financial information was obtained but an investigation was under way anyway.

Experian said the information was handed over to an individual who fraudulently represented a client but said the fraudster had already been identified and data deleted.

Cybersecurity specialist and J2 Software CEO John McLoughlin said the protection of data needed to be taken far more seriously by all South African companies: “Not just because a new law has come into effect, but simply because that is the right thing to do.”

Experian has admitted to handing over the data to the fraudster in May, but only recovered the hardware where it had been installed three months later.

It said the information was used for marketing and insurance purposes only, but this is still being investigated.

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