On June 11, 2021, according to CNN, Volkswagen and its car brand Audi were attacked by a data breach. The data leaked the contact information of customers from the US and Canada, and partially exposed personal details such as driver’s license numbers.
The breach occurred after a vendor left customer data “unprotected” on the internet between August 2019 and May 2021. Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi, as well as official dealers in the United States and Canada, use the provider’s services. This basic information data includes phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses and, in some cases, license plate numbers.
The company has contacted 90,000 people in the U.S. — mostly Audi customers — for the exposure of particularly sensitive information in the leak. That includes driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, VW or Audi website account numbers and dates of birth, and the company offers free credit protection for those whose sensitive information is compromised.
The data was stolen from outside suppliers used by VW and Audi and some of their dealerships and was mostly collected between 2014 and 2019. The information was primarily used for marketing purposes and was left in unsecured files, according to VW, which did not name the vendor that was stolen.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our current or potential customers,” Volkswagen of America said in a statement. “As always, we advise individuals to respond to suspicious emails or other Be vigilant about information about yourself or your vehicle.”