PayPal hack reveals customer names and social security numbers

Last Thursday, PayPal began notifying nearly 35,000 of its customers that their accounts were closed between 6/11 and 8/11. PayPal claims no money was stolen from anyone during the two days.

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What happened in the PayPal attack?

The hackers were still able to obtain personal and private information, including full names, dates of birth, physical addresses, social security numbers, and tax identification numbers. PayPal stopped the intrusion within two days, reset passwords for affected users and said no unauthorized transactions were attempted.

PayPal's internal investigation revealed that the hackers used a method known as credit stuffing to breach these victims' accounts.

PayPal’s internal investigation revealed that the hackers used a method known as credit stuffing to breach these victims’ accounts.
(Kurt Knutsson)

How did the hackers breach these accounts?

PayPal’s internal investigation revealed that the hackers used a method known as credit stuffing to breach these victims’ accounts. Credential stuffing is when hackers use existing credentials already floating around on the dark web to hack into private accounts. They use bots with lists of usernames and passwords acquired from previous data breaches, and test credentials across multiple online services in the hope that customers haven’t recently changed their passwords. This is where those who use the same passwords for multiple different accounts might run into a big problem.

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To learn more about how to tell if your passwords have been hacked, go to CyberGuy.com and search “Have your passwords been hacked?” by clicking the magnifying glass at the top of my site.

What if my PayPal account was hacked?

If you were one of the victims of this PayPal attack, PayPal should have already reset your password. When creating a new password, make sure it’s a strong password using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The company also offers victims free identity monitoring through Equifax for two years.

This will protect you from hackers in the future

Although PayPal is working hard to help victims of this malicious attack, there are steps you can take to ensure this never happens to you.

  • Create strong passwords and don’t use the same ones for multiple accounts: Learn more about creating strong passwords and great password managers here
  • Use 2-factor authentication: Use 2-factor authentication for all the services you use that offer them. This is an extra step that will keep a hacker away from your private information, even if they get their hands on your credentials.

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Were you affected by the PayPal breach? We’d love to hear from you.

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