Data Breach of Columbia Grain International, LLC Exposes Personal Data

  • By Steven
  • Nov 30, 2022

Columbia Grain International Data Breach

Columbia Grain International, LLC, is based out of Portland, OR. They employ nearly 200 people but also work with over 8,000 farmers around the world. They are a global supplier of several products, including both organic and conventional pulsed grains, beans, oilseeds, and full-grain seeds. Their recent data breach could affect not only their employees but also the farmers they work with and possibly even the destinations they supply. 

How Did the Attack Occur?

The company is referring to its cyber attack as a data security incident, but this is a much larger issue than that term implies. According to the breach notification Columbia Grain International, LLC filed with the Attorney General’s Office in Montana, the breach took place on March 21, 2022. They noticed unusual activity and traced it back to a network intrusion from an unauthorized source. Once the network was secure, they reached out to a cyber-data security company to help investigate and discover how the intrusion took place and what data was subsequently at risk. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

The personal information thought to be exposed as part of this data breach is pretty extensive. The notification sent out to those who may be affected gave a wide range of data that could have been exposed during the breach, including: 

  • First full name
  • Last full name
  • Protected health data
  • Government ID numbers
  • Financial account numbers
  • Social security numbers

The combination of a full name with any of these additional pieces of information could be enough for a hacker to start stealing a person’s identity. When all this information is combined, the results could be incredibly damaging to the individuals involved. 

How Did Columbia Grain International, LLC Admit to the Breach?

Columbia Grain International, LLC altered authorities when they filed the notification of the breach. They then followed that up by sending out notification letters to anyone that may have exposed data, alerting them to what happened and tips to keep their data protected from all types of fraud. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

Hackers can take this type of data and turn it into a lot of damage to those involved in the data breach. They may take out credit cards or lines of credit using any of these individuals’ names, they could get medical procedures done in their name, they may try and use the ID numbers for illicit access, or they could steal someone’s identity fully. If the hacker does not want to use the information themselves, they could also sell it. These types of data can earn the hacker a lot of money when others buy the information to use. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

The best thing anyone can do who may have exposed data from any breach is to put protections in place. This could be identity monitoring services, two-factor authentication, and even updated passwords. These steps can notify you if anyone is trying to use your personal data without your permission.

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