Capital one, one of the nation's leading credit card issuers, is the latest enterprise to be hit by a massive data breach, claiming that over 100 million people had their personal information stolen by a hacker.
The hacker, Paige A. Thompson, who goes by the online handle "erratic", allegedly obtained access to Capital One data stored on Amazon's cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, in March 2019, and subsequently downloaded the data and stored it on her own servers. The data breach involves roughly 100 million people in the United States and 6 million in Canada.
Thompson worked as a systems engineer at AWS between 2015 and 2016, three years before the breach took place. This breach went unnoticed by both Capital One and Amazon.
In some instances, Thompson obtained Social Security (140,000 individuals) and bank account numbers (80,000 individuals), other information such as names, birth dates, credit scores, and self-reported income were also compromised. Capital One claims that no credit card account numbers or login details were compromised in this attack.
Thompson used Tor and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to extract the data, but later boasted of her attack on Twitter and in a group chat on Slack, publishing screenshots of evidence of her attack. Someone in a private group chat reached out to Capital One and told them about the attack on July 17. Upon notifying Capital One, the company closed the vulnerability and verified that the information claimed to be stolen was compromised. The company then started tracking Thompson and worked with the FBI, who raided Thompson's residence on Monday, July 29 and seized digital devices to investigate.
The FBI's initial search found files that referenced Capital One and "other entities that may have been targets of attempted or actual network intrusions."
Capital One claims the majority of compromised data includes information supplied by consumers and small businesses who applied for cards between 2005 and 2019. Thompson was also able to gain access to portions of transactional information from dates in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
While the bank insists they do not believe any of the information obtained was used for fraud, the investigation is still ongoing and more details will be released as they become available.
Securing sensitive financial environments can seem like a huge challenge, but NNT has solutions to help you get secure, compliant, and audit-ready. Learn about our solutions for the financial services industry