B.C. Government advising wildfire applicants of data breach

The provincial government is in the process of notifying approximately 15,000 individuals about a data breach

The provincial government is in the process of notifying approximately 15,000 individuals about a data breach that occurred on the Wildfire Management Branch’s website and associated databases.

The databases were accessed by an unauthorized user on Sept. 24, 2014. As soon as the breach was discovered, public website access to the databases was shut down.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is conducting a thorough review of the incident in co-operation with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner was notified about this incident and the ministry is working closely with that office to resolve this issue.

This incident may have resulted in some personal information being unlawfully accessed, including the name, gender, general contact information, date of birth, driver’s licence number and job evaluation information of past wildfire crew firefighter job applicants. In some cases, information that applicants entered about their status as an aboriginal, minority or disabled person may also have been viewed.

People who require notification will be contacted by mail or other means. In addition, the government is making credit protection services available at no cost to all of the individuals concerned.

People who may be affected and who are being notified should call 1-844-456-2284 (toll-free from anywhere in Canada) for information about how to sign up for credit protection services.

Some of the database records are up to 10 years old and contacting all of the individuals in a timely manner may be difficult, so the Wildfire Management Branch is also reaching out to past job applicants through the media and its own social media channels.