A former Japanese employee of Broadlink Co. came under fire for selling more than 3,900 stolen storage devices on the Internet. The total number of storage devices obtained by the suspect went over 7,800 items, most of which contained personal information.
The suspect responsible for the theft and unauthorized access is Yuichi Takahashi. The 51-year-old admitted to stealing devices every single day at work, reports the Japan Times.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested Takahashi after being caught stealing an additional 12 hard drives. The hard drives supposedly contained personal information and confidential data related to the Kanagawa prefecture. Most of the hard drives were also subject to data deletion.
Based on the internal investigation launched by Broadlink, the corporation found that around 7.844 data storage devices had been posted on the Internet. These items were being sold on Tafuoku, also known as the Yahoo! Auction platform, notes The Asahi Shimbun. Other items were also posted on Mercari.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, approximately 3,904 of these devices could store data. Apart from hard drives, devices that are capable of recording and storing data include flash disks and smartphones.
Among the Japanese company’s clients are the Defense Ministry of Japan, financial institutions, and courts within the region.
At a press release dated last Monday, December 9, 2019, Broadlink Co. president Shoichi Sakaki issued a statement regarding the issue. Together with other company officials, Sakaki apologized for the massive data leak and the overall outcome of the incident.
In a statement, Sakaki said, “We sincerely apologize for the leak of important data due to a problem in our control system.” Sakaki disclosed the company’s lax of security was partly to blame.
The Japanese business had existing security measures in place, such as bag checking and other surprise inspections. However, regular employees such as Takahashi failed to undergo these inspections as they worked overtime.
While Takahashi admitted his role in the data storage device theft and leak, Broadlink Co. is also looking to inspect other potential individuals involved in the incident.
Following the incident, the Japan Times reports that the company will halt its operations for around a month or so. During this time, the Broadlink Co. says it will enact stricter security and privacy measures. After the implementation of these new measures, Sakaki will resign from his position.
To address the extent of the situation, the Tokyo-based firm has also issued a specific hotline and help center for affected individuals.