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Security Breach Exposes Data Of 3.3 Million Volkswagen, Audi Owners

Volkswagen (VW), owner of more than a dozen automotive brands — including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche — was reportedly hacked, and data was compromised from some 3.3 million people in the U.S. and Canada, CNN reported on Friday (June 11).

The breach revealed personal details, like drivers’ license numbers, email addresses and phone numbers — and, in some instances, Social Security numbers. The company reached out to some 90,000 U.S. customers and car buyers, mostly from Audi, and is extending free credit protection to those who had sensitive data exposed.

The data, which was stolen from an outside vendor that VW, Audi and some of their dealers use, was gathered between 2014 and 2019. The information had been collected and saved for marketing purposes, according to VW (VLKPF), and had been left in an unsecured file. VW did not name the vendor.

“We regret any inconvenience this may cause our current or potential customers,” VW USA said in a statement. “As always, we recommend that individuals remain alert for suspicious emails or other communications that might ask them to provide information about themselves or their vehicles.”

Cyberattacks, in general, are on the rise, in part due to COVID-19. Cybercrime in Europe doubled as hackers found ways to benefit from the pandemic. The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) said that 2020 had more than twice as many attacks as the prior year — 304 compared to 146 in 2019. 

McDonald’s was the victim of a hack that affected its eateries in the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan. Employee and franchisee contact information was exposed, as well as architectural information about restaurants.

The May Securing eCommerce Study, a collaboration between PYMNTS and NuData, indicated that online sellers are responsible for keeping customer data secure. Some 65 percent of all eCommerce customers said in the study that just one data breach would cause them to leave a merchant for good. 

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