This Monday, July 22, 2019, photo shows Capital One mailing in North Andover, Mass. Capital One says a hacker got access to the personal information of over 100 million individuals applying for credit. The McLean, Virginia-based bank said Monday, July 29, 2019, it found out about the vulnerability in its system July 19 and immediately sought help from law enforcement to catch the perpetrator. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Capital One target of massive data breach

Paige A. Thompson was charged with a single count of computer fraud and abuse

A security breach at Capital One Financial, one of the nation’s largest issuers of credit cards, compromised the personal information of about 106 million people, and in some cases the hacker obtained Social Security and bank account numbers.

It is among the largest security breaches of a major U.S. financial institution on record. The bank’s stock dipped 6% at the opening of trading Tuesday.

Paige A. Thompson, who uses the online handle “erratic” — was charged with a single count of computer fraud and abuse in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Thompson made an initial appearance in court and was ordered to remain in custody pending a detention hearing Thursday.

Federal agents began tracking Thompson online after being notified by Capital One of a possible breach in July.

On June 18, Thompson sent a message on Twitter to another user saying, “Ive basically strapped myself with a bomb vest, (expletive) dropping capitol ones dox and admitting it.”

The FBI raided Thompson’s residence Monday and seized digital devices. An initial search turned up files that referenced Capital One and “other entities that may have been targets of attempted or actual network intrusions.”

Thompson was a systems engineer at Amazon Web Services between 2015 and 2016, about three years before the breach took place.

While that service is used by Capital One, there is no evidence that Amazon’s cloud system was involved in the breach.

“AWS was not compromised in any way and functioned as designed,” a company spokesperson said Tuesday. “The perpetrator gained access through a misconfiguration of the web application and not the underlying cloud-based infrastructure. As Capital One explained clearly in its disclosure, this type of vulnerability is not specific to the cloud.”

Capital One Financial Corp. was notified by a third party on July 19 that their data had appeared on the code-hosting site GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft. The McLean, Virginia, company says it immediately notified the FBI.

The FBI said a Twitter user who went by “erratic” sent a user direct messages warning about distributing the bank’s data, including names, birthdates and Social Security numbers. That user reported the message to Capital One.

ALSO READ: FTC fines Facebook $5B, adds limited oversight on privacy

Capital One said it believes it is unlikely that the information was used for fraud, but the investigation is ongoing.

The data breach involves about 100 million people in the U.S. and 6 million in Canada.

The bank said the bulk of the hacked data consisted of information supplied by consumers and small businesses who applied for credit cards between 2005 and early 2019. In addition to data such as phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth and self-reported income, the hacker was also able to access credit scores, credit limits and balances, as well as fragments of transaction information from a total of 23 days in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“While I am grateful that the perpetrator has been caught, I am deeply sorry for what has happened,” said Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank. “I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right.”

Capital One Financial Corp., the nation’s seventh-largest commercial bank with $373.6 billion in assets as of June 30, is the latest U.S. company to suffer a major data breach in recent years.

In 2017, a data breach at Equifax, one of the major credit reporting companies, exposed the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of roughly half of the U.S. population.

Last week, Equifax agreed to pay at least $700 million to settle lawsuits over the breach in a settlement with federal authorities and states. The agreement includes up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers.

READ MORE: Equifax hack compromised 100,000 Canadians’ personal data

Many major banks have sought to stem the risk of data breaches in recent years. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank began replacing customers’ debit cards several years ago with more secure chip-based cards. While the cards with chips are common these days, many merchants still rely on the older, less secure card-swiping equipment. Credit card companies have also beefed up fraud monitoring in the wake of high-profile data breaches that hit retailers such as Target and Home Depot.

The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. last year was just under $8 million, according to a study by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute.

A public defender appointed to represent Thompson did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

___

Associated Press reporter Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this article.

Gene Johnson, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Five km run and walk raises funds for Stettler Hospice Society

Stettler District Ambulance Association encourages community to be active

Ol’ MacDonald’s Resort has a packed line-up of musical performances

Weekend country music festival set for Sept. 6th-8th

Alberta RCMP warns property owners of paving contractor scams

Travelling companies offer paving or roof sealing services typically to seniors in rural communities

Renegade Station is gearing up for a performance at ‘Entertainment in the Park’ on Aug. 28th

It’s been a hectic season in the successful Stettler-based band’s journey

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

RCMP and fire departments respond to possible drowning on Sylvan Lake

RCMP say they are actively searching for a man in his 20s with boats on the lake

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Alberta oil curtailment rules extended to late 2020 as pipeline delays drag on

At issue is ability to export oil in face of regulatory and legal challenges against pipelines

Most Read