27 August 2021
UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO FV DATABASE
There appears to have been serious unauthorised use of email addresses that are contained confidentially on the Freemasons Victoria ‘Salesforce' database.
A significant number of members have reported to the Grand Secretary's office that they have received an unsolicited anonymous email from a Swiss secret email account using the Proton Mail platform which allows disguised identities.
I can confirm that, well before I took office as Grand Master, a person presented a letter to our internet server providers (Brennan IT) in 2019, representing that they were the ‘Office Manager' of Freemasons Victoria. The providers, unaware of the misrepresentation, gave that person access, and that person then downloaded a substantial number of organisation files, and gained unapproved access to the personal computer files of the Grand Secretary. Those files have been used unlawfully.
The sending of anonymous emails involves breaches of privacy and ‘spam' rules. It directly breaches our own Freemasons Victoria Code of Conduct. Cybercrime is a very serious matter.
I am pleased to advise that in the past month, an external thorough review of the security of all Freemasons Victoria information technology systems has been conducted, and steps have already been completed to acutely strengthen the security of the personal information held by Freemasons Victoria.
I further advise that the latest breaches are being reported to authorities including the eSafety Commissioner of the Australian Federal Government, and law enforcement agencies. Freemasons Victoria takes seriously its database and privacy obligations. We commit to use all avenues available to bring these wrongdoers to justice.
MWBro. Richard Elkington