For a while now, we’ve been pushing the point that we can no longer trust established businesses and institutions to properly safeguard our data. If you doubted us, here’s some more evidence.
News broke last Thursday that a Vodafone server in Germany was hacked and the names, addresses, birth dates and bank account numbers of approximately 2 million customers have been exposed.
According to the latest statement from Vodafone (in German), it appears hackers were unable to access other sensitive details like passwords and credit card numbers, but the information that was exposed should certainly be cause for concern.
As Vodafone explained in their (translated) statement, "It is virtually impossible to use the data to get direct access to the bank accounts of those affected." And that’s true. It is also true, however, that the leaked information could be enough to distribute very convincing, but fraudulent phishing emails and phone calls that encourage customers to hand over key access information like passwords that could ultimately give hackers full access to bank accounts.
The exact timing of the attack has not yet been made public, but the German branch of Vodafone said police have identified a suspect and began notifying customers on Thursday that their information may have been compromised.
Sadly, this is the type of attack that is very difficult for the end user to prevent. But it should also act as a reminder that our digital security is constantly exposed to very real and potentially damaging threats. If you aren’t yet taking practical measures to safeguard your personal data, it’s time to start.
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