Cyber Attack on France’s Visa website leads to data breach

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A sophisticated cyber attack launched on the visa website of French government has led to a data breach where sensitive info related to applicants such as nationalities, birth dates and passport numbers were exposed to hackers.

Highly placed sources from the foreign ministry of France stated that the attack took place on August 10th, 2021 and the authorities contained the incident before it could disrupt several servers.

Cybersecurity Insiders has learnt that the incident could be of ransomware genre and the hackers might have accessed and stolen critical details such as email addresses, first and last names, DoB’s, nationalities, passport numbers and some other ID card details.

Such information steal often leads to identity thefts or phishing attacks and so if the data falls into the wrong hands, then all those who applied to the ‘France Visas’ website in the past few weeks might fall prey to social engineering attacks.

France-based media channels report that the incident could be a state funded attack. However, there is no official conformation yet.

Usually, in a ransomware attack, hackers steal data and then encrypt the database until a ransom is paid. If the hacker denied paying a ransom, they sell the stolen data to make money.

Cybersecurity measures to secure the France-visas.gouv.fr have been put in place and the officials are trying their best to avoid such incidents in the future.

CNIL, the data watchdog of France, has launched a judicial investigation into the attack and more details will be revealed in their next press release.

Already, visas by France government has dropped by 80% from 2020 because of the pandemic and the global international travel shutdown.

Hope, the recent cyber attack on the France government visa website doesn’t show a negative impact on the economy, as visa denial or delays might put a dent to the international income coming from travel visitors and business persons.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security