Photo hack af­fects par­ents

Queens­land School Pho­tog­ra­phy vic­tim of scam

The Chronicle - - NEWS - Andrew Back­house andrew.back­house@thechron­i­cle.com.au

THOU­SANDS of dol­lars have been scammed from Toowoomba res­i­dents af­ter a breach of se­cu­rity at a school pho­tog­ra­phy com­pany.

Queens­land School Pho­tog­ra­phy warned par­ents it was the vic­tim of hack­ing and credit card de­tails has been mis­used.

The com­pany said pho­tos of stu­dents had not been ac­cessed by the hack­ers, but its pay­ment sys­tem was breached.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­di­cate that no pho­tos have been breached - the in­ci­dent ap­pears lim­ited to pay­ment card in­for­ma­tion,” op­er­a­tions man­ager Thurid Cook said.

He added: “We con­firmed an in­ci­dent of unau­tho­rised ac­cess af­fect­ing our web­site on 9 March 2017 via our pay­ment pro­cess­ing provider.

“De­spite hav­ing no le­gal obli­ga­tion to do so, Queens­land School Pho­tog­ra­phy no­ti­fied cus­tomers di­rectly of the in­ci­dent on the same day.

“On in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the in­ci­dent ap­pears to be lim­ited to the pay­ment card in­for­ma­tion of some cus­tomers in­put on our web­site.

“We are not aware of any breach in re­la­tion to any other per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

“We are con­tin­u­ing to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with our IT se­cu­rity con­sul­tants and our pay­ment pro­cess­ing provider. A re­sponse plan is in un­der way. The po­lice have been no­ti­fied, and we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing and as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion in­ter­nally. We can­not com­ment on the progress of any on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

Toowoomba res­i­dents took to so­cial me­dia to warn oth­ers of the hack­ing, and told their sto­ries.

Par­ents told ABC their cards were be­ing used for flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion and ride-shar­ing in lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Europe and the US.

The com­pany said its bank was con­duct­ing a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter cus­tomers paid for school pho­tos on their web­site.

The Chron­i­cle con­tacted the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing which re­sponded that as the com­pany was a third party the depart­ment did not have a record of which schools might have used the com­pany for pho­tog­ra­phy.

The depart­ment re­ferred The Chron­i­cle to the com­pany and po­lice.

The Chron­i­cle also con­tacted the pri­vate schools linked to the fraud, which are yet to re­spond.

A spokesman for Queens­land Po­lice said: “Po­lice have re­ceived com­plaints in re­la­tion to this mat­ter and are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

“Pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions sug­gest that a se­cu­rity breach may have oc­curred over­seas.”

Res­i­dents are urged to re­port scams to the Aus­tralian Cybercrime On­line Re­port­ing Net­work at acorn.gov.au.

“At no stage has any chil­dren’s im­ages been at risk,” a spokesman for Queens­land School Pho­tog­ra­phy said.

“... our pho­tos are or­dered on a pre­paid sys­tem prior to date of pho­tog­ra­phy.”

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