Systems engineer arrested in massive data leak in Japan

At least 7 million names were stolen from the database of education firm Benesse

Tokyo police on Thursday arrested a systems engineer accused of stealing millions of customer names from the computer database of a large education firm to sell them for profit.

Masaomi Matsuzaki, a 39-year-old temporary staffer, was arrested for violation of the unfair competition prevention law, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Matsuzaki allegedly copied personal data related to at least 7.6 million customers of Benesse, the parent company of Berlitz language schools in Japan.

The information was allegedly copied at the Tokyo office of Synform, a Benesse-affiliated website development company where the engineer had been dispatched by a staffing agency. Matsuzaki may have gained access to the data because of lax access controls, according to local news reports.

The data was saved on a portable recording device such as a USB memory stick, sold to a broker of name lists for millions of yen (tens of thousands of U.S. dollars) and later used for direct mailing, according to Japanese media reports.

The information, which contained names, addresses, birth dates and phone numbers, could include up to 20.7 million items, Benesse said in a statement last week.

It had speculated the information was stolen by an outsider who had authority to access its database.

"The company will put top priority on uncovering the cause of the leak and on preventing any secondary damage to customers due to malicious use of the leaked information," it wrote in the statement, apologizing to customers for the leakage.

The Benesse breach is one of the largest-ever data leaks in Japan, a spokesman for the Consumer Affairs Agency said, recalling a case in which over 8 million items of information were stolen from Dai Nippon Printing, which handles direct mail for corporate clients, in 2007.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Access control and authenticationBenesse

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?