We all make mistakes, sometime they are small, some other big. But what if the mistake is so important to indirectly affect one the biggest companies in the world? “Oooops!” This is what happened to an employee working on a benefits management service provider, a company Google has partnered with to provide its employee comprehensive benefits packaged, had discovered.
On May 8th, 2016, Google Inc started notifying affected stakeholders of a breach of data that contain their personal sensitive information due to an email “fumble” —a mistake of email (recipient) identify where the email client auto-complete address resolver feature may have played a part.
The disclosure came after a vendor, specializing in employee/staff benefits management services, realized that an email that contains sensitive private information on Google employees have been inadvertently sent to the “wrong person”. In a notice filed with the Attorney-General’s office in California, Teri Wisness, Benefits Director of United States at Google, said Google had been notified immediately of the data breach by the sender themselves and appreciates the efforts of disclosing this leak as quickly as possible.
“We recently learned that a third-party vendor that provides Google with benefits management services mistakenly sent a document containing certain personal information of some of our Googlers to a benefits manager at another company. Promptly upon viewing the document, the benefits manager deleted it and notified Google’s vendor of the issue. After the vendor informed us of the issue, we conducted an investigation to determine the fact” reads the notice.
The email contains a document with an undisclosed number of Google’s staff names and US Social Security Numbers (SSN). Acknowledging the mishap, Google dispatched its incident responders to investigate and mitigate; however, from initial reports, no misuse, abuse or malicious intent was discovered. Also, logs from both parties indicate nobody else had viewed this document nor intentionally saved elsewhere locally or remotely or disclosed to another party. In fact, the unintended recipient simply deleted the email and its contents upon having it viewed once and contacted the sender.
Google will offer a three-year credit monitoring and protection for the affected employees, and recommends its employees to producing a credit rating score report.
Written by: Rami Shaath
Author Bio: With just under two decades of IT business-technology experience, Rami Shaath is a seasoned, accomplished professional with diverse background and talents spanning in technical, service delivery, and business-development disciplines in various roles and project lead across North America, Europe and the UAE. He shifted his focus and passion towards cyber security, digital forensics investigations, malware research, threat hunting and intelligence 10 years ago thriving on anything that runs on 1s and 0s.
Edited by Pierluigi Paganini
(Security Affairs – Google Data Breach, Privacy)