Mumsnet data breach: what has happened and what to know if you’re affected
The parenting site, Mumsnet has suffered a data protection breach after a software upgrade allowed users to see other people’s information.
They reported themselves to the UK data protection agency and have started sending out emails to its approximately one million members.
The site is aimed at parents and families, but also has members who are suffering abuse or have a range of personal problems, including domestic violence, loneliness and other potentially sensitive matters.
The bug allowed users to see other people’s information if the users logged on at the same time, Mumsnet said.
The Information Commissioner’s Office said it had received the report from Mumsnet and would be looking into the incident.
What could and could not be seen?
Those affected would have been able to see information including email addresses, account details, posting history and personal messages.
What should I do?
Mumsnet says there’s no need for users to do anything except look out for an email from them.
“We are currently working to positively identify any users whose accounts were wrongfully accessed by running software to interrogate the server logs in depth. We will inform anyone affected directly with more information as soon as we identify them,” the company said.
They are sending emails to all users – approximately one million members – and hope to have completed that by the end of Friday 8 February.
Mumsnet said: “We’re really sorry that our mistake has caused anxiety and we do understand why some MNers will be really worried by this.
“There is no evidence that anyone whose account was switched has done anything malicious, but of course we cannot be sure until we have tracked down and investigate every incidence and every log and contacted the affected posters – we are working very hard to close this down as quickly as possible.”
Even if you have opted out of receiving Mumsnet emails this one about data security will override your opt out.
How is Mumsnet fixing the problem?
By Saturday, Mumsnet had confirmed 46 users were affected by the breach.
“We are currently working to positively identify any users whose accounts were wrongfully accessed by running software to interrogate the server logs in depth. We will inform anyone affected directly with more information as soon as we identify them.”
The company says a software upgrade on 5 February contained the bug, and on Thursday they reversed the changes so that it is no longer in the system.
They have also forced every member to log out of the site to ensure the Thursday update kicks in.
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