Data Breach at Volkswagen Photo: Republic World

Cybersecurity: Volkswagen says data breach affecting 3.3m consumers

*The automobile manufacturer reveals an unnamed vendor mistakenly left consumers’ data unsecured online for about two years

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

For apparent negligence on the part of a supplier, Volkswagen (VW) has disclosed that a vendor’s security oversight has led to the exposure of critical information belonging to about 3.3 million consumers and prospective buyers.

It was learnt the automaker said the data was exposed after a supplier left the data unsecured online.

Volkwagen in a letter to consumers stated, that most of the exposed data included names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers, agency report said.

According to the automobile manufacturer, in some instances, the information also included facts about a vehicle purchased, leased, or inquired about, such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year, colour as well as trim packages.

Around 90,000 potential loan clients in the U.S. and Canada also had more sensitive data exposed, including driver’s license numbers.

Volkswagen said date of birth and social security numbers were exposed in a “small” number of cases.

In respect of the data left unsecured for two years, report indicates the information exposed was collected between 2014 and 2019, and was left unprotected online between August 2019 and May 2021.

However, automaker did not name the particular vendor responsible for the data exposure, nor did it say whether it knows if the data has been misused by scammers, according to report.

Volkswagen said in a letter, that it had informed the appropriate authorities about the situation.

The company said: “We take the safeguarding of your information very seriously.

“We have informed the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement and regulators.

“We are working with external cybersecurity experts to assess and respond to this situation and have taken steps to address the matter with the vendor.”

The company noted that it has partnered with IDX to provide consumers with free credit protection services, including monitoring, insurance reimbursement, and identity theft recovery services if any issues arise.

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