Police unsure on breach stats
Police are scrambling to identify how many people accessed the personal details of thousands of gun owners in a data breach.
The details of more than 37,000 firearm owners, including the guns they possess and bank account information, were able to be accessed in the breach, according to the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (Colfo).
The gun lobby group said it had received the data from a supporter and released some images obtained in the breach, with personal details redacted. At a press conference yesterday evening, Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement confirmed the data had been available to a select group of gun dealers since November 27.
A gun dealer raised the alarm after finding they could access the data.
Clement said this was the only person confirmed as accessing the data, though Colfo has said multiple people gained access.
The breach occurred after an external software developer, German company SAP, updated the system in a way which had not been authorised by police, Clement said.
He said police were working with SAP to determine how many people accessed the data. He said he could not give an ‘‘ironclad’’ promise the data had not spread further.
‘‘We will work pretty fast . . . to make sure that if there has been any use of the information that we’re aware of it and we can go to those people,’’ he said.
He said prosecution was a possibility if the private information was distributed, but the images published by Colfo did not meet this threshold.
Many firearm owners contacted Stuff expressing their dismay at the data breach.
Clement said they could still trust the gun buyback system, and did not need to be concerned about their security as a result.
‘‘We’re taking this very seriously . . . We’ve got a situation today that I’m not happy with, I can assure you. So in that sense, some of them might feel let down.
‘‘But the reality is, we’ve worked extremely hard with the firearms community from the outset with regards to the process.’’
Police Minister Stuart Nash, speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet meeting press conference, said the data was not publicly accessible, and he had made clear to police the source of the breach must be identified quickly.
The breach did not demonstrate the buyback scheme had failed or needed to be reevaluated, he said.
Firearm owners who have had semi-automatic firearms and other guns banned following the March 15 terror attack have been asked to notify police of their weapons through an online form.
Colfo, in a statement, said several of the group’s supporters had taken screenshots and downloaded information of 37,125 licensed owners and the details of 280,000 prohibited firearms and parts.