NEW YORK, NY — Personal data from about 120 million American households was exposed in a massive database breach of information stored by marketing analytics company Alteryx, Forbes reported Tuesday. The trove of data did not include names, but it contained addresses, ethnicity, interests, income and mortgage information, the report found.
Cyber security researcher Chris Vickery of the firm UpGuard, which discovered the breach, told Forbes that it would have been relatively easy for anyone who stole the information to connect the exposed data to individual names. Alteryx had placed the data online in an unsecured storage bucket, according to the report.
Vickery noted that individuals do not give Alteryx their information voluntarily. The company collects the data, which it then analyzes and sells for marketing purposes.
“While many consumers will likely be troubled by the ability of private corporations to legally collect and sell this data, ranging from publicly available information to sensitive financial details, this exposure highlights a number of growing forms of cyber risk with systemic implications,” Vickery wrote. “This incident reveals just how thoroughly third-party vendor risk is corroding the integrity of any public and private functions relying upon information technology.”
In a statement to Forbes, Alteryx said that vulnerable data was secured as soon as the breach was discovered. It also downplayed the incident, saying that no identifying information has been released. Alteryx did not respond a request for comment from Patch.
“It’s critical for consumers to be proactive in protecting themselves now and in the future,” said John Heath, directing attorney at the credit repair firm Lexington Law. “Consumers should check their credit reports regularly to ensure all data is accurate, and be sure to contact the appropriate parties immediately if there is any activity that isn’t their own.”
He continued: “I also recommend seriously considering credit monitoring, credit repair, and identity theft protection services to make sure your identity stays secure. The scope and frequency of cyber attacks is continuing to increase, and consumers need to prepare accordingly to prevent breaches from negatively impacting their financial futures.”
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Read the full report at Forbes>>
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