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Verizon Security Breach Exposes Millions of Users' Private Data

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Verizon Security Breach Exposes Millions of Users' Private Data

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It was reported today by UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team that “a misconfigured cloud-based file repository exposed the names, addresses, account details, and account personal identification numbers (PINs)” of around 14 million Verizon subscribers. The report indicates that the exposure was due to one of Verizon’s third party vendor’s, NICE systems, and an unprotected Amazon S3 storage server they control. NICE systems is an Israel based company that collected and analyzed customer records for all customer service engagement customers had with Verizon. Unfortunately, UpGuard says that NICE collected and stored this data for an “unknown purpose.”

UpGuard stated (to ZDNet), "Verizon provided the vendor with certain data to perform this work and authorized the vendor to set up AWS storage as part of this project. Unfortunately, the vendor's employee incorrectly set their AWS storage to allow external access." The company also tried to tell the website that the "overwhelming majority of information in the data set has no external value."

What’s scarier yet is that Verizon has not even contacted their customers about this security threat and it apparently happened about 1 month ago. "The long duration of time between the initial June 13th notification to Verizon by UpGuard of this data exposure, and the ultimate closure of the breach on June 22nd, is troubling," says Chris Vickery, an employee of UpGuard. This is certainly strange considering the carrier recently lobbied to kill FCC broadband customer privacy protections, which would have started back in March. In addition to requiring transparency about how customer data is used and stored, this required that customers opt in to having sensitive data shared. The rules also would have created baseline standards for how this data is stored, requiring customers be notified in the case of breaches.

Check out UpGuard’s full analysis of this data breach here.




Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 July 2017 )
 
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