The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) has imposed a $3 million fine on Trygg-Hansa, an insurance company, for a severe data exposure incident. The investigation began when a customer of Moderna Försäkringar, now part of Trygg-Hansa, discovered a vulnerability that allowed unauthorized access to the insurer’s backend system.
This vulnerability existed in the unique web addresses (URLs) provided on quotation pages sent to clients via SMS or email. IMY confirmed that the backend database was accessible without authentication, and sensitive customer data, including personal, health, financial, and contact information, was exposed.
The data breach occurred over a period of more than two years, from October 2018 to February 2021, potentially impacting about 650,000 customers.
IMY’s investigation revealed that by simply modifying the client ID number in the URL, an attacker could access private documents from other individuals, making it a severe breach of data security. While IMY confirmed at least 202 cases of unauthorized access, it suggests that the actual number could be higher.
The regulator criticized Trygg-Hansa for its failure to address these fundamental security issues despite receiving reports about the vulnerability, indicating a significant shortfall in data security and risk mitigation measures. Consequently, IMY decided to impose the $3 million administrative penalty on the insurer.
This data exposure incident highlights the importance of robust data security measures, especially in the handling of sensitive customer information, and underscores the potential risks and consequences associated with prolonged vulnerabilities in organizations’ IT systems.