National Brokerage Agency Breached in Oct 2023 Attack; 105k Records Exposed

  • By Steven
  • Published: Jan 25, 2024
  • Last Updated: Jan 30, 2024

First Financial Security's data breach

First Financial Security, Inc. (FFS) is a nationwide insurance brokerage agency that assists insurance representatives in training, equipment, and licensing. They offer clients solutions for sustaining retirement funds and financial protection against untimely death, illness, and injury. They partner with other nationally recognized brokers, including Gerber Life Insurance and National Life Group. In October 2023, FFS faced a ransomware cyberattack; months later, the outcome was bittersweet. 

How Did the Attack Occur? 

FFS filed a data breach event with the Attorney General of Maine around January 22nd; this filing announced the event publicly and published a sample impact letter. That letter suggests that the event was a failed ransomware attack. An unauthorized party launched the attack, aiming to disrupt FFS’ systems; if they were successful, they might have gained a ransom payment in addition to their stolen data. Despite their efforts, the criminals were unsuccessful—instead collecting a consolation of 105,764 data records. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen? 

Presumably, each of those records contains various information about its subject. The consumer notice suggests the leaked data may contain the victim’s full name, Social Security Number, and “personal information.” Individuals impacted by the event were notified around January 19th, which may list more data details. However, the exposure of a Social is egregious; cybercriminals could use it for committing identity or financial fraud, tax evasion, or impersonations. Victims of this breach must consider ways to safeguard their data. 

How Did First Financial Security Admit to the Breach? 

According to the public resources about the event, the attack occurred around October 17th, 2023; those resources also suggest the incident ended that day, with FFS remaining primarily in control of their systems. The attack ended, and investigations started. They concluded around November 28th, 2023. Officials began notifying impacted parties three months later, on or around January 19th, 2024. It may take weeks before their notices reach the victims of this event; those worried about their information security don’t have to wait for a notice to start protecting themselves

What Will Become of the Stolen Information? 

It’s unclear what may happen to the data stolen in this event, partially because it comes from many people with associations with FFS. These people have been insurance agents and purchased life insurance or annuity products from them. Additionally, this breach may impact those whose data belongs to an affiliated partner of FFS. Moreover, the danger of this breach may increase if the stolen data from FFS is misused to manipulate their partners’ networks. 

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

Victims of this breach must start with securing their accounts. Strong, unique, complex passwords are necessary for every organization, with experts praising password managers. Multi-factor authentications are necessary everywhere available; the more, the better, with two-step authorizations quickly becoming obsolete. Unlinking connected accounts from each other, removing auto-fill passwords, and deleting location and payment data are all vital to consider. 

They can begin taking preventative and mitigative action on those accounts. They might hire account monitoring services that alert clients to suspicious activity in their accounts and help limit the consequences, order itemized account statements for monthly comparisons, order dark web identity reports on themselves or their families. Whatever their actions, victims don’t need the notice to start safeguarding their data.

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