Data leak: Speed up probe or risk having a rise in scam cases, anti-graft NGO says

DO not delay investigation into the data leak as it could potentially give ample to time to fraudsters to use the information to con unsuspecting public, Rasuah Busters said.  

“Immediate action must be taken as the leaked data can be misused for phishing scam, identity theft or data manipulation by third parties, increasing fraud cases in the country.  

This incident is a sign that fraud literature needs to be addressed and expanded to Government sector in specific, whilst educating the public of its adverse impact.  

“It is high time we put utmost importance to transparency, values and address how the data leak can affect the masses,” its CEO Nurhayati Nordin told FocusM.  

Two weeks ago, tech website reported that the National Registration Department’s (NRD) dataset containing details of Malaysia’s population with birth years between 1940 and 2004 – roughly about 22.5 million people – was on sale for nearly RM44,000 at a database marketplace forum. 

Following the shocking revelation, Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) announced it would investigate the matter. 

Later, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin claimed that the leak did not come from NRD, despite the ongoing probe. 

“We (at the ministry) have a mechanism to verify that the leaked data was not from the NRD. 

“As in previous cases, the sale of data involves several agencies which we have given some leeway (for them) to obtain information from the department.” 

On May 20, Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin despite the leak, Malaysians need not worry as it would not jeopardise national security. 

“The home ministry has the Special Branch, and I’ve worked with them in the past (as home minister). I believe that they (home ministry) are more than equipped (to handle such a threat). 

“Also, this sort of threat does not jeopardise the national security of our country,” Free Malaysia Today reported him as saying. 

Despite the ministers’ assurances, criminology expert R Paneir Selvam and Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) admonished the former for seemingly not taking the matter seriously.  

Strict protocols needed  

Echoing Paneir Selvam and TI-M’s concerns, Nurhayati reminded Putrajaya that personal data leak could lead to serious economic impact on the people and country, given the potential rise in scam cases.  

With that said, she urged the Government to put in place strict and strong measures to protect Malaysia’s data storage system from hackers and cyber and non cyber criminals.  

“This is where the public sector must adhere strictly to good governance and administration protocols.  

“We need to have a constant monitoring and evaluation of civil servants so that this will not happened again.  

“Strict disciplinary and legal action must be taken to eliminate the civil service and private bodies of dubious characters who are working against public interest,” she remarked. – May 24, 2022

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