Equity Trust Company hacked from overseas IP addresses

A breach involving Equity Trust Company in South Dakota also flew under the media radar this year, it seems.

In a letter dated April 16 to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, Michael Dea, President of the Ohio-headquartered firm, writes that at the end of January, they discovered that  part of their network had been accessed without authorization from overseas IP addresses. They promptly installed software to block intrusions, blocked some non-U.S. IP addresses, and retained KPMG to further investigate the breach.

KPMG’s analysis, concluded in March, revealed that while the attacker was able to view customer records containing names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other unspecified types of information, there was no evidence that the attacker was able to access, copy, or remove any information.

An FAQ on the incident indicates that data types also included date of birth, telephone number, and Equity Trust account information, but not customers’ passwords to Equity accounts or credit card information. It also explains that the breach happened no earlier than January 24, 2013, and was detected within 36 hours.

Equity Trust did not offer customers any free services. From the FAQ:

Q10: Is Equity Trust going to pay for services to protect my identity?

A: Equity Trust will not pay for services to protect your identity. We recommend that you contact the credit agencies to obtain a free copy of your credit report and consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report.

Q11: Will Equity Trust pay for losses in the future?

A: Equity Trust will continue to investigate any future reports of misuse of our clients’ information, and we will cooperate with and assist our clients in any way we can to resolve any such issues.

Equity Trust Company indicated that it was notifying 5,953 Maryland residents. The total number being notified was not disclosed.  The firm requested that the Maryland Attorney General’s Office “maintain this letter’s confidentiality and treat it as exempt from release under your state’s Freedom of Information Act.”

Uh huh.

The incident was also reported to California, which requires notification if more than 500 residents were affected.

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