Apprehension as Hacker Accesses 100 Million Credit Card Accounts in the US

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SWITZERLAND, JULY 30 – In one of the biggest data breaches ever,a hacker gained access to more than 100 million Capital One customers’ accounts and credit card applications earlier this year.

Paige Thompson is accused of breaking into a Capital One server and gaining access to 140,000 Social Security numbers, 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers, in addition to an undisclosed number of people’s names, addresses, credit scores, credit limits, balances, and other information, according to the bank and the US Department of Justice.A criminal complaint says Thompson tried to share the information with others online.

The 33-year-old, who lives in Seattle, had previously worked as a tech company software engineer for Amazon (AMZN) Web Services, the cloud hosting company that Capital One was using, the Justice Department said. She was able to gain access by exploiting a misconfigured web application firewall, according to a court filing.

Thompson was arrested Monday in connection with the breach, the Justice Department said. Thompson’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Capital One (COF) said the hack occurred March 22 and 23. The company indicated it fixed the vulnerability and said it is “unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated by this individual.”

However, the company is still investigating.”I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right,” said Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank in a statement.

The breach affected around 100 million people in the United States and about 6 million people in Canada, according to Capital One. However, “no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were compromised and over 99% of Social Security numbers were not compromised,” the company noted.

Capital One said it will notify people affected by the breach and will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available. The company expects to incur between $100 million and $150 million in costs related to the hack, including customer notifications, credit monitoring, tech costs and legal support due to the hack.Capital One’s stock was down 5% in pre-market trading Tuesday.

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