DATA BREACH AT ONTARIO MARIJUANA STORE THREATENS CONSUMER PRIVACY
- November 8, 2018
In the world of online retail, millions of worldwide customers may have one question for businesses: how are you going to keep my private info safe? While big-name companies have set up rigorous security measures, one particularly notable incident involving consumer privacy has taken Canadian media by storm. Recently, the names, addresses, and order logs of more than 4,500 customers at the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) were accessed by an unidentified individual on November 1, 2018. The following day, the head of the Canada Post received a letter from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation’s CEO, who demanded that the affected customers should be informed of the situation. Unfortunately, these people received word of the situation six days after the event (November 7). Now, according to Canadian officials, the evidence points to a vulnerability in the tracking system of the Canada Post. Let’s take a closer look at what is being done to prevent further problems.
Breach of Privacy
As of October 17, 2018, our neighbor to the north became the second world leader to allow adults to use recreational marijuana. However, a quilt of uneven, patched regulations has been woven across industry retailers. Consider, for a moment, that retail storefronts will not be opened in Ontario until 2019, and you may begin to see why frustrations arise.
However, officials cannot deny that the Canada Post has a vulnerable online tracking system for its packages. As a whole, introducers can easily access and manipulate the system, ultimately exposing a slew of private consumer data (not just OCS data). In a recent meeting with the press, Patrick Ford (CEO of the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation) exposed the public to the severity of this incident and stressed how immediate action is required to prevent further incidents from taking place.
Despite the fact that marijuana is completely legal in Canada, you must realize that problems can still arise in the legal drug trade. In this case, according to the Canada Post, one person was responsible for the data breach. So, how did they access the accounts? According to sources, the culprit used OCS reference numbers (used to track purchases) and tracking numbers from the Canada Post itself.
In response, OCS has ordered Canada Post to assess the security flaw. In the meantime, OCS has completely withdrawn reference numbers from the Post’s inventory.
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