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    Sep 17, 2014

    Threat to leak more data over Causeway tolls

    A GROUP of hackers has threatened to "attack and expose" databases of more Singapore companies if nothing was done to reverse the recent increases in toll charges at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

    The group, which calls itself "The Knowns", had sent an e-mail message to media outlets, including The Straits Times, yesterday morning, saying that it was releasing the data of customers of popular karaoke bar chain K Box to show its displeasure over the hikes.

    Personal data of over 300,000 K Box customers here were exposed by the hackers.

    The Knowns added the hikes were "an unnecessary financial burden on working Malaysians" and warned of more data leaks.

    From next month, driving to Malaysia via the Causeway will cost much more, following the increases to match Malaysia's fee hike last month.

    Charges will apply for vehicles entering Singapore via the Causeway as well, a fee which is not imposed currently. A round-trip for a car will amount to $6.50 - more than five times the current $1.20.

    The charges for all other vehicles, including taxis and buses, will also increase by about the same quantum.

    The leak of K Box's membership database is being investigated by privacy watchdog, the Personal Data Protection Commission, which said it is "concerned about the scale" of the alleged breach.

    Organisations must take "reasonable measures" to protect personal data in their possession, said the commission, citing privacy laws which came into force on July 2.

    The police also confirmed that a report had been lodged and investigations are ongoing.

    The leaked data included names, addresses, mobile phone and identity card numbers, although some are outdated.

    They belonged to local celebrities and comedians, among others, with at least 15 customers confirming with The Straits Times that their personal details had been exposed.

    K Box membership numbers and loyalty points earned were also leaked.

    When contacted, a representative of K Box, which runs 12 outlets here, said it is investigating if its computers had been hacked.

    The 12-year-old firm was sold by its Singaporeans owners to Japanese karaoke chain operator Koshidaka Holdings in February.

    Security advocates said many organisations' lax attitude towards data privacy and security needs to be addressed.

    Chai Chin Loon, chief operating officer of locally-based IT security specialist Assurity Trusted Solutions, said the database should be "encrypted with advanced authentication measures at the very least".