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Scottrade data breach hits millions of customers

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(Read caption) An employee of AhnLab Inc. looks at a screen at Security Operation Center in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, July 9, 2009. Cyber security attacks and data breaches are common in the private and public sectors.

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Online broker Scottrade today announced a data breach that may affect up to 4.6 million of the company’s customers.

The breach, which Scottrade says was brought to its attention by federal law enforcement officials, is believed to have occurred between late 2013 and early 2014. The company says it targeted client names and street addresses.

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Sensitive data potentially accessed

In the announcement, Scottrade said it has no reason to believe that the company’s trading platforms or client funds were compromised; rather, the breach is thought to have focused on client contact information. Scottrade did acknowledge that Social Security numbers, email addresses and other sensitive data were available in the systems that were accessed by hackers.

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“We appreciate and value the trust you place in us,” the company said in its statement on the breach. “We are very sorry that this happened and for any uncertainty or inconvenience this has caused. We know that incidents like these are frustrating and we want to keep you informed about what our forensic investigation has revealed.”

Who may be affected

Customers who held a Scottrade account prior to February 2014 may have been affected by the breach. The company is directly notifying everyone impacted, though it says it has not seen any indication of fraudulent activity thus far.

Affected customers will get a year of complimentary identity theft services through AllClear ID.  

Affected Scottrade customers are likely to see an increase of spam to any contact information that was compromised. Scottrade said all client passwords remained encrypted. It’s always a good idea to regularly update account passwords.

Scottrade was founded in 1980 and is a popular brokerage for online stock trading due to its $7 trade commissions and large branch network.