Gun owners’ groups urge caution after names and addresses of 100,000 customers stolen from popular gun site and post details to hackers’ forum
Hackers have obtained the names and addresses of thousands of customers of a British website for buying and selling shotguns and rifles following a security breach.
The data stolen from Guntrader.uk has been posted to a hacking website, leading to fears individuals could be targeted by criminals.
Guntrader said the breach occurred last week and that it has informed the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The matter is under investigation by the National Crime Agency and other authorities, the BBC reported.
Records published online
The site said around 100,000 customer records were stolen but that the data didn’t include information on gun ownership or the location of firearms. However, many of the customers affected are likely to own firearms.
The UK’s tight restrictions on gun ownership make firearms potentially highly valuable on the black market.
An unnamed individual told the BBC they feared for their family’s safety.
The breach “seriously compromises my security arrangements for my firearms and puts me in a situation where me and my family could be targeted and in danger”, the individual said.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said it is urging its members “to be vigilant around home security” due to the breach.
The association said personal data has been published on “a hackers’ website”.
“Our advice to members would be to check home security and be extra vigilant. Make sure all firearms are appropriately locked away and make sure buildings are kept secure”, the agency said on its website.
The South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SWRCCU) is leading the investigation into the incident, assisted by the National Crime Agency.
“We are working closely with the organisation (Guntrader) and the SWRCCU to better understand the incident and manage any potential impact,” the NCA said in a statement.
Police urged shotgun owners to report any suspicious activity.
Guntrader’s Simon Baseley told the BBC the incident was the first time in 20 years that there had been a successful attempt to breach the company’s security.
In 2017 the Metropolitan Police were criticised for mistakenly providing the personal data of 30,000 London-based rifle and shotgun owners to a commecial direct mail marketing agency selling an anti-theft product called Smart Water.
Those affected only became aware of what had happened when they received the advertising leaflets at their homes.