Mystery data breach reportedly exposes 80 million names, addresses, and income info

No one has any idea who's to blame.

Data breaches are almost always tied to a site, service, or subscription, which gives you some control over your fate: You can change your password, monitor any suspicious activity, or delete your account. But a new reported breach has seemingly exposed the personal information of some 80 million U.S. households—and no one seems to know who’s to blame.

There’s a lot we don’t know yet, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that the breach is incredibly widespread. It was unearthed by security researchers Ran Locar and Noam Rotem of vpnMentor, who only know that the unencrypted data is hosted by a Microsoft cloud server and appears to be limited to people over the age of 40. In dissecting the data, the researchers found that it “seems to itemize households rather than individuals,” and includes:

  • Full addresses, including street addresses, cities, counties, states, and zip codes
  • Exact longitude and latitude
  • Full names, including first, last, and middle initial
  • Age
  • Date of birth

Additionally, the researches discovered coded references to title, gender, marital status, income, homeowner status, and dwelling type. That might not seem as dangerous as a social security or credit card number leak, but vpnMentor explains that the data here “is a goldmine for identity thieves and other attackers.” In the article, the researchers warn that hackers could use thie information here in phishing and ransomware scams, as well as less-technical scams that track your social media to find out if you’re home.

Based on the type and wealth of information, the company suspects that database is owned by an insurance, healthcare, or mortgage company. It is asking the public for help in identifying the holder of the data by emailing info@vpnmentor.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?