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Houzz Data Breach – What Really Happened?

The Houzz data breach happened in December 2018. The home improvement start-up firm claims it has over 40 million users. Let’s find more about the Houzz data breach in this article. 

Another day, another breach. This may sound old but yes, another data breach occurred. Cyberattacks get even more common each day. It is so common that “if” is no longer the question to ask. It’s a matter of “when”. Every sector experiences it – from government agencies to small businesses with unsecured databases.

In December 2018, another popular company got victimized again – Houzz. The mentioned company serves in the home improvement industry. 

What is Houzz?

This company is a website and an online community. It offers home improvement services to homeowners. Moreover, they cater services to home design aficionados and professionals. One of its tools is the marketplace. The marketplace enables home improvement companies to advertise and sell their products. The company claims it has over 40 million users.

Houzz Data Breach

The company admitted they suffered a data breach. Their announcement stated that unauthorized third-parties accessed files. Those files contain public visible user data. Yet, it is still unclear if hackers accessed the files through a hacked system. Houzz still didn’t say either if a rogue employee started the breach or a database was left unsecured.

Furthermore, the information involved in the breach includes:

  • IP address
  • User logs in Facebook
  • Email addresses
  • User IDs
  • Public information from a Houzz profile (for instance, name and address)
  • City and ZIP code derived from the IP address

Moreover, the company didn’t reveal whether hackers distributed the data or sold on any hacking forums. Fortunately, no payment information or SSNs were involved in the attack. Moreover, the company said that the actual user passwords were not compromised. Instead, hackers had access to scrambled passwords.

Response On Houzz Data Breach

While hackers didn’t have access to actual passwords, the company recommended its users to change their passwords. The company enables users to do this by visiting the “Change Password” page of their website or going to their account settings.

Furthermore, the company sent email notifications to its users about the breach. The home improvement firm promised its users to improve data security. Moreover, they wrote that they started an internal investigation and engaged with law enforcement. Additionally, they retained a leading security forensics firm regarding the matter. 

Yet, it’s not clear if the company will face penalties.

Users affected by the Houzz data breach should immediately change their passwords. Moreover, consider using a password manager in the future.

Precautionary Steps

As we have mentioned earlier, the company experiencing a data breach is inevitable. Here are some suggestions:

  • Beware of phishing scams – this is one of the most common methods hackers use. Hackers use this method hoping to get victims to click on malicious links. 
  • Install strong security software – it is important to protect your gadgets with strong security software. Keep your antivirus updated. This serves as the best defense.
  • Never reuse the same password for multiple online services.
  • Enable two-factor authentication.
  • Frequently check your bank accounts for suspicious activity. 
  • Close accounts that you rarely use.
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