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French government is the victim of  a major data breach

There are actions that governments, not just France, should be considering to prevent cyber-incidences like this from recurring.

Image: — © AFP
Image: — © AFP

France Travail, the governmental agency responsible for registering unemployed individuals, is facing a data breach affecting 43 million people. France Travail is also responsible for providing financial aid and assisting people in finding jobs.

Looking into this cybersecurity incident for Digital Journal is Nick Tausek, Lead Security Automation Architect at Swimlane.

Tausek begins by summarising the present situation: “French unemployment agency, France Travail, is warning that a data breach has compromised the data of 43 million individuals. Responsible for assisting unemployed individuals in their job search, France Travail revealed that hackers accessed data from individuals registered in the agency in the last 20 years, as well as data from job candidate profiles.”

Given the type of information collected it is unsurprising that the affected data is extensive: “The breached data includes personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, names, dates of birth, and addresses.”

Tausek sees the incident as having wider implications in terms of more general security matters, noting: “This incident underscores France’s vulnerability to cyber threats across sectors. Another recent attack targeted vital healthcare payment providers Viamedia and Almerys, impacting 33 million individuals.”

This fear is partly based on previous incidences. Tausek draws on another: “In addition, a previous breach on French Travail, formerly Pôle emploi, occurred in August 2023, affecting 10 million individuals. The breach was indirectly attributed to the Clop ransomware group exploiting the MOVEit vulnerability.”

Yet the recent data breach is much bigger. Tausek warns: “The scale of this latest breach surpasses both previous incidents, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by governmental agencies entrusted with safeguarding the personal data of millions.”

There are actions that governments, not just France, should be considering to prevent cyber-incidences like this from recurring. Tausek recommends: “To mitigate against these threats, it is essential for organizations to adopt a proactive cybersecurity approach.”

Image of Paris, France. — By © Tim Sandle.

Tausek also advises: “Investing in security platforms that centralize investigation and detection through the use of automation will allow security teams to respond to threats in real-time and gain visibility across the SOC.”

Those impacted by the data breach incident at France Travail can file a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office to help with the investigation.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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