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Border agency still using licence plate reader linked to U.S. hack

Border agency still using licence plate reader linked to U.S. hack

Canada’s border agency is still using Perceptics’s licence plate reader equipment, even after the company fell victim to a recent malicious cyberattack in the U.S.

Earlier this month, news surfaced that photos of travellers and licence plates collected for U.S. Customs and Border Protection had been compromised in a May privacy breach.

The Canada Border Service Agency, which uses the same plate reader technology employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, launched a review to see if the breach involved Canadians and affected CBSA’s operations at all.

“The CBSA remains in contact with Perceptics on a daily basis to get updates on recent events and their actions on how they are addressing it,” said agency spokesperson Nicholas Dorion in a followup email to CBC.

“At this time, the CBSA continues to utilize the Perceptics licence plate reader equipment. While we continue to work towards a full forensic investigation, the vendor has implemented measures to prevent re-occurrence of a similar breach and will continue to adjust its security protocols as necessary.”

The federal agency refused to say where it’s using Perceptics’s technology, arguing that would “jeopardize its operations.”

Based on the hacked files, CBC News was able to identify two dozen locations Perceptics equipment was sent to, from Huntingdon, B.C., to Andover, N.B.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials were quick to downplay last month’s hack, saying that fewer than 100,000 photos had been compromised and that none of the files had been posted to the darker corners of the internet.

However, someone using the pseudonym “Boris Bullet-Dodger” contacted the tech website The Register to share a link to the hacked files on the dark web.

The Register shared that link with CBC News.

The massive trove includes Internal Perceptics files such as payroll information, travel receipts, non-disclosure agreements and customs declarations. It also contains information on their competitors and even several music playlists.

The posted files also name a number of Perceptics’s past and present clients with Canadian ties.