The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has stopped its COVIDCert, an online service for COVID-19 vaccine certifications, following a data exposure incident this week.
Through COVIDCert vaccinated individuals in Northern Ireland can obtain a digital certificate showing their COVID-19 vaccination status. The service is available on the covidcertni.nidirect.gov.uk website or via a mobile app for Android and iOS.
Some COVIDCert NI users were presented with the data of other users under certain circumstances, the Department of Health explained.
The DoH’s web service and the mobile app functionality were not accessible following the incident.
“Our services aren’t available right now. We’re working to restore all services as soon as possible. Please check back soon,” reads one of the error messages on the website.
The NI Department of Health immediately reported the data breach to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office.
“The Department of Health takes the privacy of citizen’s data very seriously and contact has been made with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as part of due diligence in protecting citizen’s data,” assured the DoH.
The Department has temporarily shut down a part of its identity management system, the Department announced in a notice published Tuesday.
DoS also published a list of parties not impacted by this incident:
Applicants (up to and including 31/07) who already have their certificate – their apps or paper copies are still operational;
Applicants (to 31/07) who have lodged an application using the online portal for a downloadable PDF who have not yet received it will not be impacted by this;
Applicants (to 31/07) who have lodged an application using the COVIDCert NI app for an electronic certificate who have not yet received it.
The Department said there aree certain other individuals who have applied for a digital certificate or are awaiting an identity check would not be impacted.
Some users may experience a technical issue that prevented them from accessing their NIDirect account.
Northern Irish DoH is working on resolving the issue as soon as possible.