Millions of Users on Freecycle are Compromised in Data Breach
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- By Steven
- Sep 11, 2023
Freecycle is an online platform dedicated to helping its users exchange free goods with one another. Freecycle is designed to help reduce waste by helping people give away their unwanted items instead of throwing them away. The platform has more than 7 million users and helps divert huge amounts of waste from landfills each year. While the site and service is useful, Freecycle users were put at risk by a recent data breach that may have compromised at least some of the site's user data and led to other financial and credit-related issues.
How Did the Attack Occur?
There aren't many specifics about the Freecycle account attack, but it appears that one or more hackers were able to infiltrate one or more Freecycle databases containing usernames, email addresses, and user passwords. The team at Freecycle learned about the breach on August 30, but the information was available for purchase on the dark web since May 30. The data could be used to launch phishing attacks and to do harm to millions of users on Freecycle.
What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?
According to members of Freecycle, the cyber attack led to the following data points being taken: user names and IDs, passwords, and email addresses. The team at Freecycle states that no other personal or financial details were taken in this breach. The data captured in the breach was still enough to harm some users, though, and resetting your Freecycle password likely isn't enough to protect any other accounts you own that use the same password again.
How Did Freecycle Admit to the Breach?
Freecycle's Executive Director, Deron Beal, released a notice on Freecycle's website explaining that the site was breached and that some user information was taken. The notice urged all the members to reset their passwords to restore security to their accounts. The statement was sent out shortly after the data breach was discovered, giving everyone the data they needed to protect their accounts once again.
What Will Become of the Stolen Information?
Even though the data stolen from the millions of Freecycle accounts is minimal, it could be misused in ways that cause significant harm to the victims of the attack. Your account information may be used to access your Freecycle account and make changes, but it's more likely the data will be misused on different websites or sold off to other hackers.
Hackers cannot do much harm on Freecycle with the information stolen, but hackers will also input your account username and password into other online services. Since most people reuse the same passwords and usernames on multiple websites, it's possible that hackers can gain access to your bank accounts, crypto wallets, email accounts, and much more with the stolen password. Hackers may also leverage the stolen data to launch phishing attacks in an attempt to gather other relevant information from you.
What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?
If you use Freecycle, begin by changing your account password to keep hackers from making changes to your account. Once you're finished with that, go to every other online account you have that uses the same password and change your password. This step is crucial for protecting your other accounts. It becomes even more important for accounts that use the same email address as the one that's registered to your Freecycle account. Consider using a password manager to maintain different passwords for all the different web services you rely on to keep yourself safe if your account information is ever stolen again.