crime

Benesse struggling to deal with massive theft of customer data

19 Comments

Education service provider Benesse Corporation is under fire after a large amount of customer data was stolen from the company's private data banks. Since the news broke last week, the company has been struggling to identify the scope of the problem and how it occurred.

Benesse says that a part-time employee of a subcontractor with access to its database copied the names and addresses of at least 7.6 million customers, including info on children. The employee, who has not been publicly identified, is believed to have sold the info to advertising and other companies.

Benesse said its affiliate company Synform Co oversaw its database operations. However, it has now been learned that Synform outsourced some of its business to other companies, TBS reported. Police, who are investigating the leak as a case of data theft, said a systems engineer at one of the firms outsourced by Synform has admitted copying the data but claimed he had no idea it was Benesse data he was giving away.

Police said that the systems engineer was given the job at the end of last year and it was at that time that he began copying large amounts of private customer data through the end of January with the intention of selling it, TBS reported.

Police said the stolen data was sold at least twice before ending up with Tokushima company JustSystems Corp which used it to send ads to Benesse customers.

A JustSystems spokesman told a news conference that the firm was unaware it was buying stolen data and said it would erase the information from its database. However, Benesse has asked JustSystems not to do so, saying that data erasure will hamper its investigation into the trail of the stolen data.

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19 Comments
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I'm glad this is getting lots of news coverage. I'd love to see these "meibo" companies that sell peoples names and address put under the spotlight and investigated with great scrutiny. There is no way they can pretend that the files they are buying are not stolen. I'd like to see some prosecutions.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Benesse = Berlitz, by the way

7 ( +10 / -3 )

At least it's one idiot and not a chinese hacker to where there would be no chance of getting the data back.

JustSystems asked no questions to where the data came from and then wants to delete it instantly? I smell a rat!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow! Berlitz is in deep doo doo! I'm curious to know if this hack is a result of the administration still using XP on the networks. There are many other major corporations still using XP, including the J-Gov and city hall offices.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"Police, who are investigating the leak as a case of data theft, said a systems engineer at one of the firms outsourced by Synform has admitted copying the data but claimed he had no idea it was Benesse data he was giving away."

So, who's did he think he was giving away? It would be a crime either way, no?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The problems of outsourcing. I wonder when people will learn because these and related problems are so prevalent with out sourced work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Considering the sheer volume of spam emails that seem to only target cell phone addresses here, I'd say this has been common practice for quite literally decades, no?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"I'm curious to know if this hack is a result of the administration still using XP on the networks."

I shouldn't think so. If Benesse's explanation is correct, it's a straightforward theft of data by someone who had legitimate access.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

FAIL...I want to end our subscription!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Call a security expert, they generally don't have a cell phone, or an e-mail. Maybe that's what makes them experts, they know it's dangerous.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks, Shimajiro!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks to Mr Snowden, we all know that it's not lonely crackers that are dangerous, but those insiders who have legitimate access to the database. The perp says he didn't know he had Benesse's data, and the buyer, Justsystems, says they didn't know they were buying Benesse's data. And Benesse's says it didn't know that its subcontractor was outsourcing their jobs to a third company. I am outrageous.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Putting my children's data out there, becuase of your idiotic security??? Apology. Compensation. NOW

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sucked in Benesse So many jobs are outsource now. It not fair that people have to live contract to contract for you to make an extra buck. I reckon I would have don't the same thing. I yes Benesse brought out my company and not long after that my department was close down. That after they took away holidays

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Blue, you are SO right with that. Word.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Education service provider Benesse Corporation is under fire after a large amount of customer data was stolen from the company's private data banks.

Basically like every single child's data if you look at the numbers.

Since the news broke last week, the company has been struggling to identify the scope of the problem and how it occurred.

Benesse says that a part-time employee of a subcontractor with access to its database copied the names and addresses of at least 7.6 million customers, including info on children.

I guess they figured out how it occurred...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Until very recently Benesse was harvesting children's data quite in the same illegal way. They were commissioning agents to gather bulk data of minors from citizens registration offices and education boards.

And the way Benesse sends out misleading and colorful advertising directly addressed to minors would be illegal in most developed countries.

Benesse being the most powerful producer of teaching and learning aids in Japan has absolutely no company ethics and this incident appears like small-time crooks pinching stuff from master thieves!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

True, they already trick you into signing up for their direct mail advertisements.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mirai Hayashi... What subscription may I ask? I

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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