Recently, Shutterfly, Inc. confirmed that the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of as many as 1,406 employees was compromised as the result of a ransomware attack.
If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are actively investigating the Shutterfly data breach on behalf of people whose information was exposed. As a part of this investigation, we are providing free consultations to anyone affected by the breach who is interested in learning more about the risks of identity theft, what they can do to protect themselves, and what their legal options may be to obtain compensation from Shutterfly.
Last year, 1,862 data breaches affected more than 189 million people. On average, victims of identity theft spend 200 hours and over $1,300 recovering their identity. Many victims also suffer emotional distress, credit damage, and may even end up with a criminal record. Taking immediate action is the best way to prevent the worst consequences of a data breach.
What We Know So Far About the Shutterfly Data Breach
According to an official filing by the company, on December 13, 2021, Shutterfly learned that the company was targeted in a ransomware attack on or around December 3, 2021. In response, Shutterfly secured its systems and brought in outside cybersecurity consultants to learn more about the incident. This investigation confirmed that the unauthorized party orchestrating the attack gained access to the sensitive information of certain employees.
Upon learning of the extent of the security breach, Shutterfly then reviewed the affected files to determine what information was compromised. While the compromised information varies based on the employee, it may include your name, Social Security number, salary and compensation information, and information related to FMLA leave or workers’ compensation claims.
On March 22, 2022, Shutterfly began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
Shutterfly, Inc. is the parent company of the popular online photo-printing business, Shutterfly. Shutterfly, Inc. also owns several other brands in the photography and personalized products business, including Lifetouch, Snapfish, tinyprints, Spoonflower, Borrowlens, and Groovebook. Shutterfly Inc. is based in Redwood City, California and employs approximately 7,094 people. The company generates more than $2 billion in annual revenue.
More About the Causes and Risks of Data Breaches
Often, data breaches are the result of a hacker gaining unauthorized access to a company’s computer systems with the intention of obtaining sensitive employee information. While no one can know the reason why a hacker targeted Shutterfly, it is common for hackers and other criminals to identify those companies believed to have weak data security systems or vulnerabilities in their networks.
Once a cybercriminal gains access to a computer network, they can then access and remove any data stored on the compromised servers. While in most cases a company experiencing a data breach can identify which files were accessible, there may be no way for the company to tell which files the hacker actually accessed or whether they removed any data.
While the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach does not necessarily mean it will be used for criminal purposes, being the victim of a data breach puts your sensitive data in the hands of an unauthorized person. As a result, you are at an increased risk of identity theft and other frauds, and criminal use of your information is a possibility that should not be ignored.
Given this reality, individuals who receive a Shutterfly data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like Shutterfly are responsible for protecting the employee data in their possession. If evidence emerges that Shutterfly failed to adequately protect your sensitive information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.
What Are Employees’ Remedies in the Wake of the Shutterfly Data Breach?
When individuals decided to work for Shutterfly, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that workers would think twice before giving a company access to their information if they knew it wasn’t going to be secure. Thus, data breaches such as this one raise questions about the adequacy of a company’s data security system.
When a business, government entity, non-profit organization, school, or any other organization accepts and stores employee data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow individuals to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.
Of course, given the recency of the Shutterfly data breach, the investigation into the incident is still in its early stages. And, as of right now, there is not yet any evidence suggesting Shutterfly is legally responsible for the breach. However, that could change as additional information about the breach and its causes is revealed.
If you have questions about your ability to bring a data breach class action lawsuit against Shutterfly, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.
What Should You Do if You Receive a Shutterfly Data Breach Notification?
If Shutterfly sends you a data breach notification letter, you are among those whose information was compromised in the recent breach. While this isn’t a time to panic, the situation warrants your attention. Below are a few important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and other fraudulent activity:
Identify What Information Was Compromised: The first thing to do after learning of a data breach is to carefully review the data breach letter sent. The letter will tell you what information of yours was accessible to the unauthorized party. Be sure to make a copy of the letter and keep it for your records. If you have trouble understanding the letter or what steps you can take to protect yourself, a data breach lawyer can help.
Limit Future Access to Your Accounts: Once you determine what information of yours was affected by the breach, the safest play is to assume that the hacker orchestrating the attack stole your data. While this may not be the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. To prevent future access to your accounts, you should change all passwords and security questions for any online account. This includes online banking accounts, credit card accounts, online shopping accounts, and any other account containing your personal information. You should also consider changing your social media account passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.
Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: After a data breach, companies often provide affected parties with free credit monitoring services. Signing up for the free credit monitoring offers some significant protections and doesn’t impact any of your rights to pursue a data breach lawsuit against the company if it turns out they were legally responsible for the breach. You should contact a credit bureau to request a copy of your credit report—even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity. Adding a fraud alert to your account will provide you with additional protection.
Consider Implementing a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. Credit freezes are free and stay in effect until you remove them. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may seem like overkill, given the risks involved, it’s justified. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), placing a credit freeze on your account is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, just 3% of data breach victims place a freeze on their accounts.
Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach requires an ongoing effort on your part. You should regularly check your credit report and all financial account statements, looking for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You should also call your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.
Below is a copy of the initial data breach letter issued by Shutterfly, Inc.:
We are writing to inform you of a data security incident at Shutterfly that may involve some of your personal information.
An unauthorized third party gained access to our network. This was what is known as a “ransomware” attack. The attacker both locked up some of our systems and accessed some of the data on those systems. This included access to personal information of certain people, including you. We believe the access occurred on or about December 3, 2021. We discovered the incident on December 13, 2021.
What Information Was Involved?
Some of your personal data was among the data affected. This may have included your name and: . In addition, due to the nature of the documents accessed, other employment related information may have been taken, such as salary and compensation information, or information related to FMLA leave or workers’ compensation claims.
What We Are Doing
We quickly took steps to restore and secure our systems. We brought in outside cybersecurity experts. We are continuing to investigate, with their help. We continue to focus on improving our security based on what we learn. We have notified law enforcement.
We are offering you two years of credit monitoring for free from Equifax. To take advantage of this offer see the included instructions.
What You Can Do
We strongly encourage you to contact Equifax and take advantage of the two years of free service. Carefully review your accounts for any suspicious activity and remain vigilant. You may wish to change the password and security questions associated with your online accounts. If you see suspicious activity, notify the organization where you hold the account. Also notify any relevant government agency, such as the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or state DMV.
Attached to this letter are helpful resources on how to protect your personal information.
For More Information
Keeping your personal data secure is important to us, and we regret the understandable concern this incident has created. If you have any questions, call 1-866-389-3602, 9:00AM – 9:00PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday and Sunday Eastern.