Berlin Bank Accused of Country′s Largest Data Leak | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 13.12.2008
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Berlin Bank Accused of Country's Largest Data Leak

Consumers in Germany have been affected by what is being calling the country's largest data leak. A Berlin bank has reportedly lost data on thousands of credit card customers -- including their PIN numbers.

Credit card

It is particularly significant that PIN numbers were leaked, said one expert

Strictly confidential information on over 10,000 credit card customers of the Landesbank Berlin (LBB) was anonymously sent to the Frankfurter Rundschau, the newspaper claimed on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Because the LBB is the country's largest creditor, said the paper, many customers of other banks are also affected by the data breach.

Customers' names, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, transaction information and -- in some cases -- PIN numbers were included on the micro-fiches the Frankfurter Rundschau had received.

The case "overshadows all previous cases in size and especially in the quality of data," Thilo Weichert, director of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection in Schleswig-Holstein, told the Berliner Zeitung. He said the LBB mishap was an "unbelievable and unique case."

"The credit card accounts can be maxed out to their credit limit," added Weichert.

Supposedly, the data leak originated with another company, AtosWorldline, which LBB had hired to do its accounting.

Weichert criticized LBB's practice of passing sensitive data on to third parties, calling it an "Achilles' heal and enormous loss of control." The LBB is still legally responsible for the consequences, he said.

The LBB case is the latest in a series of privacy scandals that have recently hit Germany, including several at Deutsche Telekom, the country's telecommunications giant.

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