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Security & privacy

14 million Verizon customers’ data exposed in massive breach

Have you called a customer service representative in the past six months? If so, your name, cellphone number, home address and personal identification number may have been made public.

This massive data breach affects at least 6 million people and possibly as many as 14 million cellphone users. Anyone with access to this company’s website could have seen your personal data and accessed your PIN. They could have used your cellphone and possibly blocked you from using it.

This data breach was caused by an employee error. If you’re a Verizon customer and you recently called their customer service number, keep reading to find out how to protect yourself.

Here’s how it happened. Verizon and many other companies work with a $1 billion Israel-based company called NICE Systems.

NICE uses software to track other companies’ customer service calls. For instance, NICE’s software can detect a person’s frustration level with a customer service rep in real time.

NICE stores records of your calls on an Amazon S3 server. That storage system was recently at the center of one of the worst’s data breaches in history when 200 million Americans’ voter records were exposed.

Similar to that incident, this Verizon data breach occurred because of human error. The Amazon S3 unit can be set to private or public. In this data breach, millions of Verizon customers’ data was set to “public.”

Worse, your personal information remained exposed from June 13 until June 22. Verizon has said that no customer data was compromised. However, you need to protect yourself and your personal information.

Here’s what everyone needs to do: Immediately change your cellphone PIN, even if you’re not a Verizon customer. NICE Systems works with hundreds of companies, so your phone number, home address and other personal information could be vulnerable.

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