Health Ministry: No MySejahtera user data leak, API misuse caused unsolicited OTP texts and spam email

PETALING JAYA: No MySejahtera user data was leaked, says the Health Ministry after investigating complaints and reports of unsolicited one-time password (OTP) text messages and spam email from the Covid-19 app's helpdesk.

The ministry said initial investigations by the Malaysian National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) had shown that the OTP messages and spam email were sent out by misusing the app's API (application programming Interface).

"There was no leak of the MySejahtera database in the incident," the ministry said in a statement Wednesday (Oct 20).

Earlier, the MySejahtera team said the unsolicited OTP messages were sent to verify random users’ phone numbers for check-in QR registration, which is meant for business premises, public transport operators and others to get a QR code to be used for MySejahtera check-ins.

The ministry said irresponsible parties had randomly entered mobile numbers and email addresses into the registration field on the MySejahtera website.

"If such an email or mobile phone number is valid, MySejahtera will send out an OTP to confirm the registration," it said.

Meanwhile, on the spam email, the ministry said the "Need Help?" function of the website had been misused to send out spam to random email addresses.

It added that the MySejahtera team apologised for the inconvenience and had since blocked MySejahtera's API endpoints to facilitate a security enhancement fix later Wednesday night.

An API refers to the coding platform that allows two software programmes to communicate.

An API endpoint is where it connects with the software programme. APIs work by sending information requests from a web application or server and receiving a response.

The MySejahtera app and website were jointly managed by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council, the statement added.

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