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.