Hacker accesses a Verizon employee database and tries to ransom the data for $250,000

Verizon is dealing with an incident where a hacker captured a database containing company employee data, including the full names of workers as well as their ID numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers. Motherboard reported that the database is legitimate, as the anonymous hacker contacted them last week, and they were able to verify the data by calling some of the numbers.

“These employees are idiots,” the hacker told Motherboard via chat. The hacker is seeking $250,000 in exchange for not leaking the database and said they are in contact with Verizon.

A Verizon spokesperson contacted Motherboard confirming the incident, saying, “A fraudster recently contacted us threatening to release readily available employee directory information in exchange for payment from Verizon. We do not believe the fraudster has any sensitive information and we do not plan to engage with the individual further. As always, we take the security of Verizon data very seriously and we have strong measures in place to protect our people and systems.”

The hacker claims they nabbed the database by social engineering their way into remotely connecting to a Verizon employee’s computer. The hacker’s account, in an email sent to Vice, is that they posed as internal support, coerced the Verizon employee to allow remote access, and then launched a script that copied data from the computer.

The information that was stolen could still be harmful. If you’ve ever had to get support from a carrier over the phone, you might have had to deal with the different departments that handle activating your SIM card. If a purported hacker poses as an employee and spoofed their number as one from the database, they could continue to use social engineering for SIM swapping fraud. The technique has been used frequently over the years as attackers manipulated accounts through carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T to steal cryptocurrency or access to social media accounts, including one belonging to former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

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