Trend Micro employee sold user data to tech support scammers

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"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", Trend Micro said in a Wednesday blog post.

"Trend Micro became aware that some of our consumer customers running our home security solution had been receiving scam calls by criminals impersonating Trend Micro support personnel". According to the company's announcement, thousands of customers had been exposed, as the rogue sold names and phone numbers that resided in the company's customer support database.

The investigation also revealed that the rogue employee then sold this information to a "currently unknown" malicious third-party, which resulted in some of its customers receiving scam calls from people impersonating Trend Micro employees.

Trend, which has offices all over the world, said it believes it has directly informed all of the customers whose information was stolen by the rogue insider, though the security specialist is still warning its consumer customers to be tired of any unsolicited calls claiming to be from Trend support staff.

The firm did not share information and facts about the identity of the employee.

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It also contained Trend Micro support ticket numbers, but the security vendor said there's no indication now that financial or credit card payment data and believes the government and business customer information it holds weren't touched.

"If you have purchased our consumer product, you should know that Trend Micro will never call you unexpectedly".

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

No financial or credit card payment information was accessed, Trend Micro said.

Trend Micro said it believed approximately 70,000 of its 12 million customers had been affected.

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Unfortunately, when we say companies can't eliminate insider threat completely, cybersecurity firms, who are meant to protect others, are not an exception.

Trend Micro provides cyber-security and anti-virus tools to consumers, businesses and organisations around the world.

Customers who receive unsolicited calls claiming to be from Trend Micro are advised to hang up immediately, and to report them to the security vendor.

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".

Instead, support calls are scheduled in advance.

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