Millions of Volkswagen customers could have leaked their data online
German automaker Volkswagen announced that more than 3.3 million of its customers’ information was disclosed online after one of its salespeople failed to secure a collection of customer data.
Received a notice of a data breach from TechCrunchThe company stated that the seller in question is used by Volkswagen, its subsidiary Audi, and authorized dealerships in the US and Canada.
The customer data, which extends from 2014 to 2019, was left unprotected online for a period of two years from August 2019 to May 2021. Volkswagen did not name the responsible provider, but it is likely that they disclosed the data by leaving it in an unsecured database.
Based on the information in the data breach notification, an unauthorized third party first accessed the data in March, prompting Volkswagen to initiate an investigation into the matter. However, the company is only now informing customers of the situation, as it was able to confirm in May that sensitive personal data was also included in the incident.
Disclosed customer information
The exposed data that is collected about customers for sales and marketing purposes contains personal data of Volkswagen customers and prospective buyers, including their names, addresses, e-mails and telephone numbers.
However, the company’s 90,000+ customers in the United States and Canada have also disclosed some of their sensitive information, including information about their creditworthiness. According to the data breach notification, most of the sensitive data was driver’s license numbers, although a small number of records also included customers’ date of birth and social security numbers.
It is currently unclear whether the disclosed customer data was misused by the unauthorized third party who was able to gain access.
Fortunately, Volkswagen has partnered with consumer privacy platform IDX to provide identity theft protection for customers whose data has been disclosed that includes two years of credit and CyberScan monitoring. We’ll likely learn more about what happened once law enforcement officials finish their investigation.