AIB admits to old-fashioned data breach of 500 Galway customers

12 Sep 2017

Image: KorArkaR/Shutterstock

AIB has informed 500 of its customers that their personal data has been breached, but it was not due to any cybersecurity issues.

Data breaches within companies and financial institutions have been on the rise in recent years, with examples such as Yahoo setting the bar high – or low – resulting in millions of people’s personal data being obtained through hacking.

In the case of AIB, 500 of its customers’ data have been breached, but through the more low-tech mistake of being lost by a staff member.

‘Some confidential information relating to banking facilities was mislaid’

According to RTÉ, a letter was sent to those affected, telling them that an employee had lost a stack of records containing their names; loan and deposit balances; and their account turnover and annual fees.

Occurring at the end of August, AIB said the employee “mislaid” the documents as they were travelling between two of its branches in Galway. The files were to be used for a review of branch portfolios.

AIB admitted that “some confidential information relating to banking facilities was mislaid”.

In a statement issued to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, AIB said that it had gone above and beyond to try to locate the files, but has obviously come up short, and confirmed that the matter had been forwarded to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

In an effort to allay the fears of those affected, AIB said that the files would not allow someone to access their accounts, given the information provided, which contained no addresses or contact details.

Data breaches not exclusive to Ireland

This news comes after a significantly larger event occurred over in the US, where credit information firm Equifax revealed that 143m of its customers’ data had been stolen.

Equifax’s ties to Ireland extend back to the opening of an office in Wexford in 1994. Last year, the company opened a new R&D operation at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin and announced plans to hire 100 new staff in “highly skilled R&D positions”. previously interviewed the company’s CIO, David Webb.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic