'Contract worker stole all Israelis' personal information'

Information was used to create searchable database; computer technician put the database on Internet for anyone worldwide to access.

teudat zeut israeli id (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
teudat zeut israeli id
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A contract worker from the Labor and Welfare Ministry was charged with stealing the personal information of over nine million Israelis from the Population Registry, the Justice Ministry announced Monday after a media ban was lifted.
The worker electronically copied identification numbers, full names, addresses, dates of birth, information on family connections and other information in order to sell it to a private buyer.
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The information was also given to another individual who used it to design a software program called "Agron 2006", which exploited the database to allow queries of all Israeli citizens, allowing information to be illegally sold based on various parameters. Those parameters could include familial relationships of the entire Israeli population, over several generations.
Among those people whose information was stolen were minors and deceased citizens.
A copy of the software program, devoid of any protection mechanisms, was later obtained by a computer technician who uploaded it to the Internet. He even created a website with detailed instructions explaining how to download and use the Argon program with Israeli citizens' personal information.
Ironically, the computer technician went through great lengths to hide his own identity. Using the online pseudonym "aRi", the suspect used various methods and software to hide his IP address and delete any traces of his activity from computers he used, the Justice Ministry said.
The significance of the personal information's release to the entire world, the Justice Ministry said, ranges from personal privacy to economic and physical security.