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Primary School Data Leaked in Singapore

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Last month, the personal data of more than 1,900 pupils from Henry Park Primary School was leaked, in the second high profile data leak to happen in Singapore in the last year.

A Microsoft Excel document containing the children’s information was mistakenly sent out to approximately 1,200 parents as part of an update regarding a school event. The file contained the names and birth certificate numbers  of all 1,900 pupils in the school, alongside the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of their parents.

The day after the leak, the school’s principal sent an apology to all parents via email, and asked them to immediately delete the file, and not to use the data. While publicly apologising for the incident, the principal also noted that the school has been asked to tighten it’s controls by the Ministry of Education (MOE).  Parents were lift rightfully concerned about the safety of their children’s personal data, especially when schools are exempt from the Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore, and instead governed by more relaxed public sector rules.

Although it is not clear quite how this file full of sensitive information became attached to the email, the sender most likely understood the sensitivity of the documents – which is where a data classification policy alone can fail an organisation. Solutions, such as Boldon James Classifier, are able to detect the classification that has been assigned to a specific file through its metadata, and in turn can assess whether the recipient is permitted to receive documents with this level of classification.

In the case of the student information created by the school – considering its sensitive nature – the classifications given to the document would have been enough for the Classifier to know that this document contained confidential information, and that sending to external unauthorised persons was not allowed, therefore blocking the sending of the information.

Adopting a data classification solution not only protects your sensitive data, but educates your users on the correct handling of sensitive information, to prevent any future breaches (accidental or not). Find out how Boldon James Classifier can help protect your sensitive data from user error now by booking your free demo.

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