Another day, another data breach. This time, payday lender, Wonga has revealed it’s the latest victim in a long and seemingly endless line of companies to have had their customer data compromised.
The company, which offers short-term, high-cost loans to millions of customers in the UK and Europe suggested up to 250,000 customer credentials may have been exposed. The range of information stolen may also include the last four digits of customers' bank cards - information used by some banks as part of the login process for online accounts.
Wonga said it did not believe the attackers had gained access to users' loan accounts but did warn them to remain vigilant.
Of course, Wonga isn’t alone, in March the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) revealed an ‘external infiltrator’ had compromised 43,000 individual’s details. In fact, the latest report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) in the US, indicates that there have been 392 data breaches recorded this year up to the end of March and that nearly 7.4 million records have been exposed since the beginning of 2017. The total represents a 51% increase in the number of breaches to date compared with 2015.
The consistency with which breaches are happening shows no sign of slowing down, and while the exact details of the Wonga breach remain under wraps, there’s no doubt that the consequences for their customers and their reputation will linger for some time to come.
Whichever way we look at it, breaches like those experienced by Wonga serve as another reminder about the ease with which hackers can identify and exploit security shortcomings. The combination of names, address, phone numbers, account details and sort codes gives cyber criminals plenty of ammunition to go on and commit significant fraudulent activity.
Organisations must learn from the mistakes of others, and at the moment that message doesn’t seem to be sinking in. We know that incidents like this can be prevented if security teams put some time and attention on making sure their security foundations (the very basic security measures) are firmly in place, plug the holes and switch from focussing on the infinite, to focus on the finite – the known good.
If you're a Wonga customer and you are worried about the security of your personal details, it's recommended to follow some simple security measures, including:
- Alert your bank and ask them to look out for any suspicious activity. Wonga will also be informing financial institutions about the breach
- Watch out for scammers or unusual online activity. In particular, customers are told to be cautious about cold calls and emails asking for personal information. If you do experience this, end the call and call the company directly to check this is genuine
- You can also contact the Wonga helpline on 0207 138 8330 for further questions.