July 17, 2017
The data exposure of 6 million users included their names, addresses and phone numbers.
A third-party vendor exposed the personal account information of millions of Verizon customers, a technology security firm announced Wednesday.
Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at the security firm UpGuard, discovered a cloud-based server on June 8 open to public access that contained not only names, addresses and phone numbers of Verizon customers, but also included specific account information ranging from personal identification numbers to Fios accounts.
ZDNet first reported the breach. Verizon later confirmed to CNN that the breach, resolved on June 22, exposed the personal data of 6 million customers.
“We have been able to confirm that the only access to the cloud storage area by a person other than Verizon or its vendor was a researcher who brought this issue to our attention,” a Verizon spokesperson told IB Times U.K. “In other words, there has been no loss or theft of Verizon or Verizon customer information.”
The cloud server was linked to an employee at Nice Systems, an Israeli technology company that works with Verizon to catalog customer service data. When customers called customer service in the last six months, their information was documented to verify their accounts and improve customer relations.
“This human error is not related to any of our products or our production environments nor their level of security, but rather to an isolated staging area with limited information for a specific project,” Nice Systems said in a statement.
Whether anyone else located the files and downloaded them or not, customers are typically unaware of how much personal information a company they use exposes to other vendors, said Dan O’Sullivan, a cyber resilience analyst at UpGuard, in the announcement.
“The prospect of a host of your applications and digital accounts being compromised from one third-party vendor’s exposure of data is not science fiction, but the unfortunate reality of cyber risk today,” O’Sullivan said.
“The data exposed in the Verizon/NICE Systems cloud leak is, indeed, a testament to how profoundly every aspect of life today is touched by those systems to which we impart so much knowledge,” he continued.
In June, UpGuard gained national attention when it discovered an exposed database with the information of 200 million American voters.
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