A-G finds security breaches, forgeries in Immigration system, calls for ‘robust’ controls

The Immigration Department logo is seen at its headquarters in Putrajaya January 10, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The Immigration Department logo is seen at its headquarters in Putrajaya January 10, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — A total of 37 and 1,137 security stickers issued by the Immigration Department in Sabah and Sarawak back in 2019 and 2017 respectively were found to be forged, the Auditor-General (A-G) disclosed in the second series of its 2019 report released today.

The report was finally tabled in Parliament after being deferred since March due to Covid-19 pandemic controls.

According to the A-G, the forgeries were possible due to the security breaches resulting from identity theft in the Malaysian Immigration Department online system known as MyIMMs.

Both incidents are still currently under investigation, the country’s top auditor said in his report, but added that security features have been enhanced since.

According to the report, the first forgery involving the misuse of IDs in MyIMMs was traced to an incident at the Foreign Workers Division in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on September 12, 2019.

The serial numbers of the security stickers were used to print a fake Employment Pass at another location using the ID of an officer who later denied knowledge of the matter. A police complaint was filed the same day.

Federal auditors noted an update from the Immigration Department dated January 11, 2021 in which a report had been made to its Information Technology and Records Division (BTMR) at the federal headquarters in Putrajaya.

“To date the investigation report has not been obtained.

“BTMR has made several updates to the system and ID, namely the strengthening of ICT; IDs are only allowed to login on one computer; the system will automatically log out if not used for more than five minutes; The ID will expire automatically if not used for more than three months; and only one ID is allowed to log in to one branch,” the A-G said in its report.

The second and larger forgery cases in Sarawak were traced to a similar breach of the MyIMMs System in the Foreign Workers Division of the Kuching branch on October 12, 2017.

The federal auditors noted that a police complaint was filed four days after the breach, noting the printouts of the forged stickers at other Immigration offices in peninsular Malaysia.

“However, the type of pass that was forged using the serial number of the security sticker was not stated in the police report as it was still under investigation,” the A-G said in his report.

He said both intrusions that occurred in Sabah in 2019 and Sarawak in 2017 have highly affected the integrity and security of data in the MyIMMs System.

“The Immigration Department needs to enhance the security control of the MyIMMs System to overcome the problem of system intrusion that affects JIM's operations and national security as a whole.

“More robust system security controls need to be emphasised in the development of the National Integrated Immigration System,” he added.


 

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