The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in France has released a statement announcing that personal information has been stolen in a data breach. Around 540,000 records have been stolen — those records contained names, phone numbers and email addresses.
Back in 2010, the Ministry created an emergency service called Ariane. If you’re traveling to an unsafe country, you can register to Ariane to tell the Ministry when you’re going there.
By doing that, you receive security briefs, you will be contacted if there’s a crisis and the government keeps emergency contact information in case something happens to you.
Today’s breach is related to emergency contact information. On December 5th, an unauthorized party accessed that database with everyone’s emergency contacts. According to the Ministry, the vulnerability has already been fixed. The Ministry also contacted France’s data watchdog, the CNIL, within 72 hours.
That database in particular contained first names, last names, phone numbers and email addresses. Ariane’s user base hasn’t been exposed — it means that passwords and travel information have not been accessed. The relationship between emergency contacts and Ariane users have not been accessed either.
If somebody put your contact information as their emergency contact, the Ministry has sent you an email to tell you that you’ve been affected by the breach. There’s also a chance that you’ve been affected but you don’t know because somebody put your name, your phone number and an email address you don’t use anymore.
You basically don’t need to do anything, as there’s no password to change or anything. Just be aware that stolen data could be used for spamming purposes as well as phishing.