Hacks gained access to personal information of 36M Comcast customers


Comcast, along with several other large corporations, recently suffered a devastating data breach. According to reports, hackers may have gained access to the data of up to 36 million customers of Comcast Xfinity, meaning the company’s cable TV and Internet divisions. Although the company is pretty tight-lipped about it, the data breach happened more than two months ago. Here’s what we know and what you should do to protect yourself.

Hackers were able to gain access to these masses of customer information through a vulnerability known as “CitrixBleed”. It is found in Citrix network devices used by Comcast and other large corporations. The exploit was originally discovered in August and appears to have been used in cyberattacks not only on Comcast, but also on many other companies, including Boeing.

Because the vulnerability was first discovered in August, it took until early October for Citrix to issue a patch. However, it seems that not every company was able to get the important updates in time, including Comcast. The telecommunications giant admitted that the CitrixBleed vulnerability allowed hackers to access its systems, meaning customer data, between October 16 and 19. It took another week for Comcast to detect this attack.

The timeline stretches back to this month. On November 16, Xfinity confirmed that “information was likely obtained” but did not specify what type of information. This month, Comcast revealed that customer data, including usernames and hashed passwords, had been stolen, and it appears to be affecting most — if not all — of the 36 million accounts, which means nearly all of Xfinity’s customers.

The good news is that hashed passwords are hard to crack, but depending on the algorithm used to protect them, it’s not impossible for hackers to bypass these defenses.

Worst of all, Comcast admits the hackers may have obtained much more sensitive data for “an unspecified number of customers,” it says. TechCrunch. This data includes names, dates of birth, contact information, secret questions and answers, and even the last four digits of social security numbers. Unfortunately, Comcast does not specify how many customers are affected by this – much more serious – data breach.

It’s unclear if the hackers are demanding a ransom right now, though Comcast told TechCrunch it’s not aware of any data being leaked or used for malicious purposes. It’s possible that hackers will try to sell data on the dark web or demand a ransom from Comcast.

What can you do as a Comcast customer? Your best bet is to change your password, and if you’ve used the same password elsewhere, remember to change it across the board (and use different passwords for each service from now on). Using two-factor authentication is also a good way to protect yourself in an age where cyberattacks and massive data breaches are so common, with companies like Western Digital, Microsoftand 1Password all are affected this year.

Editor’s recommendation