Robinhood, the US stock trading app, was hit by a security breach that revealed the names or email addresses of more than seven million people.
The company says the breach affected “a limited amount of personal information for some of our customers.”
And he doesn’t believe the most sensitive information he collects – US social security numbers and financial information – has been revealed.
Robinhood said he refused a request for payment and reported the attack.
Such ransom demands are not uncommon in cyber attacks and usually amount to a promise not to sell the compromised data or to disclose it online for free. The company did not say what terms were involved in its case.
Instead of complying with what he called “extortion,” Robinhood said he notified law enforcement and hired an outside cybersecurity company to help handle the incident.
“We owe it to our customers to be transparent and act with integrity,” the company’s head of security, Caleb Sima, said in a published statement.
“Following a diligent review, informing the entire Robinhood community of this incident is now the right thing to do,” he said.
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The breach occurred on November 3 through so-called “social engineering,” a targeted and compelling scam designed to trick an employee into divulging login details or other sensitive information.
It affected five million people whose email addresses were compromised and the full names of another two million.
Robinhood also said that a much smaller group of about 310 people had much more information on display, including US names, dates of birth, and postcodes.
Another 10 or so have “disclosed more extensive account details,” he said.
Robinhood is only available to US users and requires that they are over 18, provide a valid Social Security number and a valid US address. It is that sensitive information that the company says has not been exposed.
The app, which allows low-volume stock trading by ordinary people looking to invest, exploded in popularity earlier this year and was used extensively by the speculative investors behind GameStop’s trading frenzy.
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