Scottrade security breach affects 4.6 million customers, personal information stolen.

St. Louis-based brokerage firm Scottrade today announced that it was notifying roughly 4.6 million customers about a hack into its database which could have leaked private information involving contact information and maybe Social Security numbers.

The company says that it recently heard about the theft by federal law enforcement officials about crimes involving the theft of information from Scottrade and other financial services companies.

The company said it believes that “the illegal activity involving our network occurred between late 2013 and early 2014, and targeted client names and street addresses.”

“Although Social Security numbers, email addresses and other sensitive data were contained in the system accessed, it appears that contact information was the focus of the incident,” the statement said.

It says that it has no reason to believe that Scottrade’s trading platforms or any client funds were compromised. Client passwords remained fully encrypted and that it hasn’t noticed any fraudulent activity as a result of this incident.

Scottrade said it was working with “a leading computer security firm” to assess the impact of the breach and strengthen its network. It also said that it was notifying customers of the hack “as a precaution.”

It may well be that the intruders were after Scottrade user data to facilitate stock scams, and that a spike in spam email for affected Scottrade customers will be the main fallout from this break-in.

Scottrade is offering affected customers a year of complimentary identity protection services through AllClear ID. Just call AllClear ID at (855) 229-0083.

This is the second major breach reported in the US this week. The news comes one day after credit application processing firm Experian noted that 15 million T-Mobile customers’ details may have been leaked in an attack on its firm.

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