If it can happen to the Digital Goddess, it can happen to you. There was a data breach at Wyzant, the online tutoring platform where people can find tutors for one-on-one lessons on hundreds of subjects. Kim's son is learning Mandarin and now she's getting a wave of spam and phishing emails.
As far as data breaches go, this one isn't that bad. In an email sent to its users, Wyzant said it has detected an "anomaly" in one database. As the company investigated further, it discovered that a cyber attacker had breached a database on April 27.
What kind of user data was taken?
According to Wyzant, users' personal data and any connected Facebook profile information may have been compromised. However, that only includes first and last names, email addresses and zip codes. If a person signed onto the Wyzant site through Facebook, their profile image also was taken.
Fortunately, data such as passwords, payment information and activity on the Wyzant site was not breached. In its customer email, the company said no other data "is known to have been accessed."
The company says it has patched the breach and continues to investigate its network to make sure there were no other hacks. If something is found, Wyzant said it will inform customers.
What does the breach mean to Wyzant users?
The good news is that the hacker, or hackers, didn't get access to credit card numbers or bank information. As Kim reported, she began receiving an inordinate number of spam emails following the breach. That's the best possible scenario.
The worst scenario in this instance is that the email addresses gathered in the data breach can be used for phishing scams to get more information out of you, or to spread malware either now or in the future.
As always, be careful about opening emails from people you don't know and never click on a link in a strange email.
Would you be able to spot a phishing email? Take this quiz to find out
Crooks who try to trick you into giving up your private information or install malware have been around just about as long as we've been online. And although these kind of scams should be second-nature and easy to spot by now, a lot of scammers are aware of this and work tirelessly to make those emails – along with fake sites they link to – look completely legit. And that means a lot of people still fall for it.