In January of 2021, Astoria Company LLC (also called Astoria) experienced a data breach where two individual hackers gained access to its servers where sensitive data was stored. Astoria waited until November 24, 2021 to notify people that their information was accessed.
Astoria collects personal and highly sensitive information about people to provide other companies with the opportunity to offer you financial services, like auto loans, mortgages, or special credit deals. Astoria does this without you ever providing your information to them, so you may not have had a direct relationship with Astoria. If you received a notice from Astoria, you were impacted by the breach.
Your information is collected by Astoria without you knowing about it. For example, when consumers go onto various websites and fill out forms to compare car insurance premium rates from different companies, Astoria is often the company that provides the software to that website to generate an opportunity to sell you the product.
Astoria provides lead generation services on various branded websites, which are listed on the Astoria website. This includes sites that connect consumers with mortgage and auto loan rates, life insurance rates, auto insurance rates and other financial products. The nature of Astoria’s business requires the company to store personal information about consumers with whom it does not have a direct relationship.
In March, it was revealed that roughly 30 million Americans were affected by the data breach, as their records were discovered to be up for sale on the black market of the internet.
According to Astoria, the following information was affected:
This information is called your Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”). It tells others about you and is considered part of your identity. Businesses are required to secure this information or risk facing statutory penalties, among other legal penalties. Stolen PII can be used by identity thieves to engage in fraudulent activity using your identity.
When the issue of this sensitive information being available on the dark web was brought to the company’s attention in January 2021, Astoria said it occurred due to a “former developer from India” who intentionally saved the credentials on the forms. These credentials were available for review on a public URL with no need for authentication to access the files.
Investigators of the breach found a list of more than 400 domains registered to Astoria company, LLC. They found malicious scripts on Astoria’s MortgageLeads.loans domain. There were a total of 19 Astoria-owned domains using the same malicious script.
Astoria is not offering any free identity protection services. The best way to protect yourself after a data breach is to sign up for identity protection services as soon as possible. California offers extra protections and legal rights to its residents through the California Consumer Privacy Act.