Scottrade Breach Affects 4.6 Million Users

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The postal contact data stolen may be intended for use in share-trading scams

Missouri-based online share-trading firm Scottrade said it believes hackers have compromised the names and street addresses of about 4.6 million customers, in a breach uncovered by the FBI.

Scottrade said the FBI contacted the company about the breach as part of an investigation into crimes involving the theft of data from Scottrade as well as other financial services companies.

data breach

Scottrade didn’t name the other companies involved. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Based on its investigation and information supplied by the FBI, Scottrade said it believes the hack occurred between late 2013 and early 2014. The affected system contained Social Security numbers, email addresses and other sensitive data, but the company said it believes names and street addresses were the only data affected.

The company said it doesn’t believe its trading platforms or client funds were compromised.

Law-enforcement investigators have said they believe contact details stolen in other breaches of financial institutions, such as a 2014 breach at JPMorgan Chase that affected more than 80 million individuals, were intended for use in share-trading scams that would manipulate the price of particular stocks.

Security strengthened

Scottrade said it has identified the point via which compromise was carried out and has secured it, and has strengthened its security systems. The company said it is directly notifying those involved and is offering them identity protection services.

“We are very sorry that this happened and for any uncertainty or inconvenience this has caused,” the company stated.

The announcement came late on Friday, a day after T-Mobile USA disclosed that a hack on Experian had exposed the personal data of 15 million individuals.

Data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace, with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) receiving on average two complaints each day related to the security of personal information in 2014, up 30 percent from the previous year, according to figures released last week.

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