Wells Fargo accidentally leaks 1.4 gigabytes of information on high net worth clients

russia hotel wi fi hack hacking hacker lifestyle pc keyboard
pwstudio/123RF
The latest high profile leak to make headlines wasn’t the result of an attack, a security breach, or even a bug. Rather, the leak of thousands of sensitive documents from embattled bank Wells Fargo was the result of an accident. As the New York Times reported, “Wells Fargo … turned over — by accident, according to the bank’s lawyer — a vast trove of confidential information about tens of thousands of the bank’s wealthiest clients.”

It is estimated that a staggering 50,000 individual customers had their data inadvertently shared with lawyers as part of 1.4 gigabytes of files (on a CD, no less) that Wells Fargo willingly turned over. And that data included quite a bit of sensitive information, including customers’ names, social security numbers, the size of their investment portfolio, and the fees the banks charged. The majority of the affected customers are clients of Wells Fargo Advisors, the branch of the bank that serves high-net-worth investors.

Initially, the documents requested from Wells Fargo were part of a defamation lawsuit against a bank employee, and were intended to be no more than a few emails and documents directly related to the case. But clearly, lawyers for Gary Sinderbrand, the employee in question, received much more than they bargained for. According to the Times, “The files were handed over … with no protective orders and no written confidentiality agreement in place between [a former employee’s] lawyers and Wells Fargo’s.”

That means that it would be totally legal for the recipients of these files to simply release the materials or include them in legal findings, making them publicly available.

So how did this happen? According to Bressler, Amery & Ross, the law firm Wells Fargo hired to deal with the case, was working with an outside vendor who apparently failed to adequately vet the documents to ensure that only necessary files were being sent over. Lawyer Angela Turiano called the disclosure was “inadvertant” and in an email exchange, noted, “Obviously this was done in error and we would request that you return the CD asap so that it can be properly redacted.”

Lawyers for Sinderbrand noted that the former employee plans on keeping the CD and its contents confidential. “We are continuing to evaluate his legal rights and responsibilities,” laywers said. “Wells Fargo has not identified what specific documents it asserts were inadvertently exposed.”

Product Review

With its gem-cut design, HP’s near-perfect Spectre x360 2-in-1 is a shining jewel

HP’s updated Spectre x360 13 is dubbed “gem-cut” for a reason. It looks like a gem cutter went to work on the chassis, and the result is glorious. It’s also fast, well-built, and lasts long on a charge. What else could you need?
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Gaming

Respawn seems to be teasing the next Apex Legends character

Jump pads, the ultimate ability for the leaked Legend Octane, have started to appear in Apex Legends. Octane hasn't arrived yet, but the jump pads seem to suggest the new legend will join the fight very soon.
Mobile

The first Android Q beta is available. Here's what we know about it

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system, and now it's available for beta testing.
Deals

Walmart slices price on Canon ImageClass MF232W Wi-Fi laser printer

If you don’t need color printing, a monochrome laser printer like the Canon ImageClass MF232W can save you a lot of time and money. This beefy all-in-one Wi-Fi printer is on sale from Walmart for almost half off, letting you score it for…
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Computing

Teens using Google Docs as the modern version of passing notes in class

Google Docs is reportedly being used by teens as a secret communications app. Instead of passing notes, students are now using the software's live chat function or comment boxes to talk with their friends while in the middle of classes.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Here’s how you can watch today’s Nvidia GTC 2018 keynote live

Nvidia's rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut soon. The company will be kicking off its GPU Technology conference at 2 p.m. PT today, Monday, March 18, and you can watch the opening keynote here.
Computing

After fourth attack, hacker puts personal records of 26M people up for sale

A serial hacker going by the name of Gnosticplayers is selling the personal data of 26 million people who have been using the services of six different companies from across the world.