Mystery Data Breach Exposes 80 Million U.S. Households

Mystery Data breach

What Happened?

On Monday, April 29, 2019, security researchers with vpnMentor discovered a data breach that included information on 80 million households, approximately 65% of the households in the U.S. The exposed database included names, ages, full addresses, marital status, geographical, income, and other demographic data. What is most concerning, and unusual, about this breach is that no one knows who owns the database.

The 24GB folder was discovered unprotected on a Microsoft cloud server — meaning that anyone who knew where to look could access and steal the data within. Microsoft has since taken the database offline, but these records had been available since February 2019 and the damage may have already been done.

Should I Be Worried?

The information exposed in this breach compromised individuals age 40 or older, who own or rent real estate in the U.S. That represents well over half of all homeowners in the nation, making it a highly desirable resource for fraudsters and identity thieves. Not to mention, since most households are comprised of more than one individual, hundreds of millions of consumers may be at risk.

With this data in hand, cybercriminals can easily guess email addresses, leaving victims vulnerable to phishing attacks. Since physical and income data was also included the exposed database, real-world crime is another concern. And, by combining this information with your Social Security number, fraudsters can fully assume your identity.

9 Tips for Data Breach Victims

If you are age 40 or older and live in the United States, it’s highly probable that your information was involved in this most recent data breach. Stay vigilant about monitoring your personal bank and credit accounts, social media, direct mail, and beyond. Follow these 9 tips to further protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.

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Video Game Virtual Vulnerabilities: Impact on Your Real Identity

Young boy playing video games in the dark

Cybercriminals are Playing Dirty

Online gamers of all ages may not realize the real-life dangers of sharing personal information, leaving them susceptible to vulnerabilities such as fraud, swatting, and identity theft.

The Global Game Market Report estimates that downloaded, digital game revenues took 91% of the global video game market in 2018 ($125.3 billion), with boxed games making up the remainder. This gamer ecommerce channel opens a massive gateway for cybercriminals to hack and commit fraud by preying on unsuspecting online players. Continue reading