COVID-19 Vaccination Data Used to Send Spam Text Messages, Says OPP

A man who worked at Ontario’s vaccine reservation call center is one of two facing criminal charges for a security breach of the provincial COVID-19 immunization system.

Charges of unauthorized use of a computer were brought after police executed search warrants following an investigation into spam text messages sent to multiple people who had booked vaccines or downloaded their proof of vaccination certificates, said Tuesday. Ontario Provincial Police.

“Ontarians should know that these texts are financial in nature and that the government will never conduct a financial transaction through these methods,” said Marion Ringuette, communications director for Attorney General Sylvia Jones.

The police investigation began last Wednesday after several Ontario residents reported receiving text messages with their full names, as they appear on the vaccination documentation.

The defendants are Ayoub Sayid, 21, from Gloucester, who worked at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Vaccine Contact Center, and Rahim Abdu, 22, from Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.

The OPP statement recognized the Sûreté du Québec for assisting the cybercrime investigation team of the provincial police in the case.

The two men have been released and are scheduled to appear in court. Sayid “is no longer a government employee,” said Stephen Warner, Jones’ press secretary.

“No personal health information was accessed … Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Reservation System it’s still safe and it’s still a safe tool for Ontarians to use, “he added, noting that Sayid worked for the government through an” outside vendor. “

The NDP said the situation raises concerns about data security that have not been adequately addressed.

“People whose data has been compromised have the right to be informed and need instructions on what to do. This supposed failure is serious, and someone at the highest levels must be held accountable, ”said new Democratic Rep. Chris Glover (Spadina – Fort York).

“Ford must also clarify what his government knew about this alleged personal data breach and when they learned about it,” Glover said.

“On Friday, November 19, the Health Ministry said it had found no connection between the Ontario vaccination portal and the fraudulent bank texts. Today, the OPP says that two days before, on Wednesday, November 17, they were asked to investigate the alleged connection. “

Search warrants executed on Monday resulted in the seizure of “various devices, computers and laptops,” according to the OPP statement.

It is the second time this year that someone working for the provincial government has been charged in connection with COVID-19 matters.

In September, OPP charged Sanjay and Shalini Madan with money laundering and possession of stolen property in the alleged theft of $ 11 million in pandemic relief funds. Both have been fired from the civil service.


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