VICTORIA - The B.C. government is trying to notify about 15,000 people who had their personal information hacked because they applied for seasonal jobs with the Wildfire Management Branch.
Branch executive director Brian Simpson said Tuesday that the new-recruitment database was targeted Sept. 24 by an unauthorized user with an Internet address based in Estonia.
He said the database included information dating back to 2004 and included the names, and potentially the birth dates, drivers licence numbers and addresses of successful and unsuccessful applicants.
"I can tell you that I have worked for the ministry for 37 years and this is the first time I have even heard of such a breach or let alone being involved in it," he said.
"I also know that, unfortunately, in this information age it seems like this happens all too often, even in the private sector."
This past July, the Ministry of Health announced an unauthorized person using a doctor's PharmaNet account had accessed names, birth dates, addresses, phone number and health numbers.
Michelle Mitchell, spokeswoman for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C., said the public watchdog was notified Oct. 3 of the breach on the Ministry of Forests' website and is monitoring the situation.
The ministry said in a news release that public access was shutdown to the website as soon as the breach was discovered, and the government is offering free credit protection services to people who have been affected.
Simpson said people who think they could be impacted by the breach can call 1-844-456-2284.
Information Technology specialists are studying how the breach happened and what can be done to prevent another such problem from happening in the future, said Simpson.
"As I understand it, you know, every time you create a new mouse trap to prevent people from getting in there, they create a way around it," said Simpson.
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