The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website has not been hacked by identity thieves, despite appearances to the contrary.
The TSA recently created a website to enable people wrongly listed on its infamous "no-fly list" to establish that they were not a security threat. They were invited to submit detailed and confidential information, on a site hosted by a third-party, Virginia-based web design company spelled Desyne.
But as originally set-up, data was submitted to the site through an insecure link. Worse, people who used the site typically did so after they had been delayed from boarding a plane. And there was a good possibilty that they submitted the data from an airline terminal, an unfamiliar location where they might be more likely to stray onto a bogus network set up to trick the unwary.
The TSA's security SNAFU is reminiscent of the mistakes made last month by the UK government in establishing a MI5's terror status mailing list. In that case users were only submitting their name and email address whereas the TSA website invites submission of a full spectrum of confidential data, including their date and place of birth, drivers license details and passport number, making the TSA's slip-up even more galling. ®