Buying a car can be quite a process and requires a lot of time, energy, and research. What most potential car buyers don’t expect is to have their data exposed for all to see. But according to Threatpost, this story rings true for many prospective buyers. Over 198 million records containing personal, loan, and financial information on prospective car buyers were recently leaked due to a database that was left without password protection.
The database belonged to Dealer Leads, a company that gathers information on prospective buyers through a network of targeted websites. These targeted websites provide car-buying research information and classified ads for visitors, allowing Dealer Leads to collect this information and send it to franchise and independent car dealerships to be used as sales leads. The information collected included records with names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, IP addresses, and other sensitive or personally identifiable information – 413GB worth of this data, to be exact. What’s more, the exposed database contained ports, pathways, and storage info that cybercriminals could exploit to access Dealer Lead’s deeper digital network.
Although the database has been closed off to the public, it is unclear how long it was left exposed. And while it’s crucial for organizations to hold data privacy to the utmost importance, there are plenty of things users can do to help safeguard their data. Check out the following tips to help you stay secure:
- Be vigilant about checking your accounts. If you suspect that your data has been compromised, frequently check your accounts for unusual activity. This will help you stop fraudulent activity in its tracks.
- Place a fraud alert. If you suspect that your data might have been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit. This not only ensures that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny, but also allows you to have extra copies of your credit report so you can check for suspicious activity.
- Consider using identity theft protection. A solution like McAfee Identify Theft Protection will help you to monitor your accounts and alert you of any suspicious activity.