A popular platform used to make payments to U.S. government entities has leaked 14 million customer receipts through a website error.

Government Payment Service runs the GovPayNet portal that Americans across 35 states use to pay their bills, fines, license fees, and much more. However, Brian Krebs recently reported that the online receipts that are issued by GovPayNet were sequentially numbered and by entering new digits into the address bar individuals could view other customer records dating back to 2012.

The site was notified last Friday about the exposed receipts and the company worked relatively quickly to fix the issue over the weekend. The company claims that it “did not adequately restrict access only to authorized recipients”, however, the payment provider consistently downplayed the issue and the information exposed on the site. “Most information in the receipts is a matter of public record that may be accessed through other means. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution and to maximize security for users, GovPayNet has updated this system to ensure that only authorized users will be able to view their individual receipts.”

The information exposed to unauthorized users includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and the last four digits of the card used to make payment(s). That information alone is enough to help an attacker make a convincing follow-on phishing email campaign.

There’s no indication that this information has been used to harm GovPayNet customers, but this incident should serve as a wake-up call to organizations that do business with government agencies. If your organization has contracts with the U.S. government and handles Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), you are subject to the NIST 800-171 compliance standard. This publication lays out several “basic” security standards and controls intended to provide guidance for the protection and safeguarding of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) by federal contractors and subcontractors who process, store, or transmit information as part of their “routine” business operations.

NIST 800-171 is very descriptive and requires understanding the 110 different controls across 14 categories that help to define “what” needs to be accomplished. However, it lacks any prescriptive detail of “how” to accomplish compliance and what should be the biggest priority of those requirements. Let us show you how a single solution addresses one-third of all the security and compliance requirements across the 14 different categories.


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