French Unemployment Agency Data Breach Exposes 43 Million Individuals

France Travail, formerly known as Pôle Emploi, has issued a warning after hackers breached its systems, potentially putting the personal information of an estimated 43 million people at risk.

The agency, responsible for registering unemployed individuals, providing financial aid, and helping them find jobs, revealed yesterday that hackers had stolen data from job seekers registered with the agency over the past two decades. The cyberattack took place between February 6 and March 5, and also exposed information from individuals with job candidate profiles.

Affected individuals will receive notifications regarding the personal data breach, according to a notice on France’s cyberattack victim assistance portal. The National Commission of Informatique and Liberties (CNIL) has been informed and estimates that up to 43 million people could be impacted by the breach.

The stolen data includes full names, dates of birth, places of birth, social security numbers, France Travail identifiers, email addresses, postal addresses, and phone numbers. This information increases the risk of identity theft and phishing, prompting the agency to advise affected individuals to be cautious with emails, phone calls, and SMS messages they receive.

While bank details and account passwords were not compromised in the breach, CNIL warns that cybercriminals could use the stolen data in combination with information from other breaches to carry out further attacks.

Individuals affected by the breach can file complaints with the Paris prosecutor’s office to aid in the investigation process. This incident marks a new record in France, surpassing the impact of previous breaches such as the Viamedis and Almerys breach in February, which affected 33 million people.

In August, France Travail experienced a significant data breach affecting around 10 million individuals, which was linked to the Clop ransomware group exploiting a vulnerability in the agency’s software tool.


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