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Thousands of Australians' privacy breached: Have you been affected?

Screenshot of one of the exposed cover letters from a First National job applicant.

The personal information of potentially thousands of job applicants in Australia have been exposed in a data breach.

Overseas Twitter user Gareth Llewellyn first raised the issue early this week with Australian real estate agency First National about the details of job seekers — including whole cover letters — being exposed online.

Images on social media show cover letters sent to First National offices in Palm Beach and Burleigh Waters on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

First National told Yahoo Finance that it had contacted the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about the incident, but the data breach did not occur on its systems. It blamed the leak on an online psychometric testing supplier, Sales Inventory Profile, which is used by fewer than six branches in its network.

“As this breach is not within First National’s responsibility, we, like all networks with the real estate industry are dependent upon the Sales Inventory Profile organisation complying with the necessary security arrangements,” said First National network chief executive Ray Ellis.

“We are working with our affected offices, and more importantly, any applicants that
have been affected.”

Llewellyn estimated on Twitter that about 120,000 files were breached but after taking into account duplication, about 15,000 job applicants have had their information breached.

But Yahoo Finance understands from other sources that a total of 2000 to 3000 people from a range of Sales Inventory Profile clients were affected, with a small subset of those First National job applicants.

Screenshot of cover letter applying for a job at First National.

Sales Inventory Profile managing director Maya Saric told Yahoo Finance that the infrastructure containing the data has now been secured and an investigation is ongoing.

“We are taking our responsibilities very seriously to ensure this does not happen again,” she said.

Sales Inventory Profile has several other clients in the real estate industry, including Starr Partners and the Professionals. Saric denied that accounts outside of First National branches were affected.

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