Dutch public figures’ numbers go online due to error

13th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Thousands of private numbers of celebrities were made accessible due to a configuration error.

The Hague – A configuration error of a regional press agency resulted in thousands of private numbers, including those of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and politician Geert Wilders being published online, reports nu.nl.

The SPD is a regional agency of national news for newspapers and journalists have their contacts stored in the company’s server database.

The server was however made accessible via the internet due to an error that was discovered by technology website Tweakers.

The Dutch website that evaluates and compares hardware and software discovered the firewall and security for an internal website operated by the SPD  was full of loopholes that made the telephone numbers  easy to access.

In an interview with de Telegraaf, Tweakers said although a password is needed to access the database, it was fairly easy to find the telephone numbers using Google search function.

Tweakers' editor-in-chief Wilbert de Vries said: "We exposed the problem at GPD's website because security for the site is so poor," adding, "We didn't expose it until 24 hours after we had warned them about the problem".

Public figures whose numbers were made public include the prime minister, freedom party leader, TV presenters Mart Smeets, Jort Kelder and Felix Meurders.

The phone numbers of Balkenende and Wilders are outdated, report various Dutch media.

The SPD has since admitted the mistake and said its database was no longer accessible to the public.

This is not the first time the SPD has leaked information online. In November 2007, two officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs were also able to access confidential information of the SPD.


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