How bank customers can protect themselves after hackers leak TransUnion data

Consumer credit bureau TransUnion has offered customers affected by a data breach free access to its TrueIdentity product for a year.

“TrueIdentity gives people the information and tools to detect identity-related threats and, if need be, a way to get help to recover from them,” TransUnion stated.

This comes after hacking group N4ughtySecTU took responsibility for breaking into a TransUnion fileserver and exfiltrating over four terabytes of data.

N4ughtySecTU threatened to leak the data unless TransUnion paid $15 million (R218 million) in cryptocurrency. The deadline to pay was midnight on Saturday.

TransUnion refused to pay the extortion demand, resulting in N4ughtySecTU posting several databases to a public Telegram group. The group has since been deleted.

According to TransUnion, releasing the data would create opportunities for criminals to impersonate you but will not give them access to your banking accounts or profile.

However, malicious parties can use this information to run scams to trick you into disclosing your confidential banking information.

Ironically, N4ughtySecTU claims that 3 million of the leaked records was TransUnion’s database of TrueIdentity customers from January 2020.

TransUnion has emailed individuals whose contact information and other personally identifying data it could link to the breach.

These emails contain a voucher for TrueIdentity that must be redeemed before 1 July 2022.

“When the free one-year subscription to TrueIdentity lapses, we will provide you with a TrueCredit subscription until 31 December 2023,” TransUnion stated.

“TrueCredit provides credit monitoring and credit alerts as well as monthly credit reports.”

NaughtySecTU Telegram conversation

TransUnion confirmed that at least 3 million customers were impacted, including South African consumers and non-South African residents who have transacted in the country.

Another 6 million ID numbers were exposed that had no personal information linked.

“We continue to work diligently to determine whether these ID numbers can be linked to other personal information to identify any additional impacted consumers,” TransUnion stated.

Vulnerable information includes names, ID numbers, dates of birth, gender, contact details, marital status and information, employer identities and duration of employment, vehicle finance contract number, and VINs.

It added that spouse information, passport numbers, credit, or insurance scores might have been impacted in isolated instances.

“We continue to investigate the identity of the suspect,” TransUnion stated.

“As is common with criminal attacks of this nature, it is not always possible to identify who is responsible for this malicious conduct. ”

TransUnion said that should it identify the suspect, it would work with law enforcement agencies and disclose the suspect’s identity only if law enforcement agencies think that it is appropriate.

Protecting against data leaks

TransUnion reiterated advice from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), which recommended that bank customers take the following precautionary measures:

  • Do not disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via phone, fax, text messages or even email.
  • Change your passwords regularly and never share these with anyone else.
  • Verify all requests for personal information and only provide it when there is a legitimate reason to do so.
  • Perform frequent anti-virus and malware scans on your personal computer and mobile device, using software that is up to date.
  • Do not click on any suspicious links.

Now read: How criminals can use stolen data from the TransUnion hack

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How bank customers can protect themselves after hackers leak TransUnion data