Trend Micro says one of its employees stole and sold customer data

Cartoon of someone stealing data from a computer

The company became aware of the scam in early August after receiving complaints from customers.It was only at end of last month when Trend Micro concluded the scam originated from a rogue employee, who was supplying an unknown third party with the customer information.

Anybody who did acquire a contact and has "specialized challenges that may perhaps have arisen from conversation with the scammers", the company mentioned, ought to link with Trend Micro for support-support by now coated by their solution license.

What the thief got was access to a customer support database that contained names, email addresses, Trend Micro support ticket numbers, and in some instances, telephone numbers. We took swift action to contain the situation, including immediately disabling the unauthorized account access and terminating the employee in question, and we are continuing to work with law enforcement on an ongoing investigation.

Our investigation revealed that this employee sold the stolen information to a now unknown third-party malicious actor.

One of the biggest worries of CEOs and CISOs is that an employee will access and sell customer data.

Based in Tokyo, Trend Micro sells around the world.

The most effective defense versus scam phone calls like these is education: Pattern Micro, other know-how businesses, the IRS, and the Social Protection Administration will not phone you unexpectedly.

The theft however could have caused serious problems for Trend Micro customers given the level of detail the scammers had access to, which would have increased the chances that victims would pay the scammer, install unwanted software or malware suggested by the scammer, or hand over a password to them.

At this stage, it's not known if any Australian customers are among the stolen information.

Trend Micro provides cyber-security and anti-virus tools to consumers in Australia.

It later found out its systems had not been attacked over the internet and it was instead facing a "malicious insider threat". While the stolen data included names, email addresses, some phone numbers, and Trend Micro support-ticket numbers for users of Trend Micro's consumer security products, it did not include payment information. "If you receive an unexpected phone call claiming to be from Trend Micro, hang up and report the incident to Trend Micro support".

The company has not detailed how the employee stole the customer database but it said the person "engaged in a premeditated infiltration scheme to bypass our sophisticated controls". "If a support call is to be made, it will be scheduled in advance", the vendor advised.