A hacker works on computers.Fallout continues after the reveal that Ascension, a data and analytics firm, failed to secure around 24 million documents, leading to a massive data breach.

About the Ascension Breach

The data breach, first reported by Tech Crunch, was discovered on Jan. 10 by security researcher Bob Diachenko. According to his report, he discovered the breach by using public search engines. It is believed that the data was exposed for several weeks before the breach was discovered and eventually shut down on Jan. 15.

The 24 million financial and banking documents involved in the breach were reportedly housed in a database on an unprotected server. In addition to the misconfiguration of the server’s security settings, the database allegedly did not have a password, meaning that anyone could have accessed the sensitive information.

Loan and mortgage files from Capital One, CitiFinancial, HSBC Life Insurance, Wells Fargo, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development were among the exposed documents. The documents revealed in the breach may be recent, or may be dated as far back as 2008. Personal information was also involved in the breach, including names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, bank account numbers, checking account numbers, loan agreements, bankruptcy filings, tax documents, and W-2s.

Who is Affected?

It is unknown how many people were affected by this data breach. It is also unclear whether the information was seized by hackers or cyber criminals. According to the researcher who discovered the breach, the documents were stored in random order and were not easy to interpret. However, the information would still be very valuable to criminals and could allow them to commit identity fraud, file false tax returns, and apply for loans or credit cards.

How Do You Protect Yourself After a Data Breach?

Consumers who are concerned about being victimized by data breaches or hackers may take precautions to protect themselves and their information. Being aware of phishing schemes, checking bank statements, and freezing credit may all be helpful.

Scammers often attempt to take advantage of data breaches through phishing, or sending emails with malicious links included. Scammers will pretend to be the company affected by the data breach and send emails to possible customers in an attempt to persuade the victim into clicking on their link, after which the victim may be tricked into submitting personal information or a virus may be downloaded to their device.

According to PC World, checking bank statements and online accounts for possible fraudulent activity is also recommended by security experts. If fraudulent activity is discovered or suspected, putting a credit freeze on your accounts as soon as possible may be necessary. Additionally, consumers may consider using burner cards, or cards with a prepaid balance rather than their credit card.

If you are or have been a customer of Capital One, CitiFinancial, HSBC Life Insurance, or Wells Fargo, or have other reason to believe your information may have been exposed in the Ascension breach, you may qualify to join a free data breach lawsuit investigation.

Join a Free Mortgage Data Breach Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

If you are a customer of CitiFinancial, HSBC Life Insurance, Wells Fargo, Capital One, or otherwise believe that you were affected by the Ascension breach, you may be eligible to join this mortgage data breach class action lawsuit investigation.

Learn More

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