Data Breach Alert: SourceMedia, LLC (Arizent) | Console and Associates, P.C. | #itsecurity | #infosec

Recently, Arizent, formerly known as SourceMedia, LLC, confirmed that sensitive consumer data in the company’s possession was compromised after an unauthorized party gained access to the company’s computer network. The data breach lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. are going to begin interviewing victims of the breach to determine what damages they sustained and what legal claims may be available to them. If you recently learned your information was compromised in the recent breach, reaching out to a data breach lawyer is the first step to understanding all of your options.

What We Know So Far About the SourceMedia Data Breach

SourceMedia, LLC, which operates under the name Arizent, is a business-to-business digital media company based in New York City, NY. The company publishes a number of trade publications, including Accounting Today, Employee Benefit News, National Mortgage News, American Banker, Mergers & Acquisitions, The Bond Buyer, Financial Planning, On Wall Street, Digital Insurance, and Health Data Management. Arizent is owned by Observer Capital, which acquired the business in 2014. Arizent employs approximately 400 people and generates roughly $254 million in annual revenue.

According to a letter written by attorneys representing Arizent, the company first noticed suspicious activity on its computer network on May 21, 2021. In response, Arizent secured its network and launched an investigation to learn more about the nature and scope of the data security incident. This investigation revealed that, on May 21, 2021 and between July 21-27, 2021, an unauthorized party gained access to the company’s network. During these periods, the unauthorized party may have viewed or removed certain files.

Upon learning of the extent of the security breach, Arizent reviewed the affected files to determine whether any sensitive consumer information was compromised. On December 3, 2021, the company completed its review, and, while the compromised information varies by consumer, it may include a person’s name, address, Social Security number, and driver’s license number.

On March 3, 2022, SourceMedia began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals whose information was compromised. The Arizent/SourceMedia data breach is believed to have affected as many as 4,993 individuals.

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 consumer information. While no one can know the reason why a hacker targeted Arizent, 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 Source Media data breach notification should take the situation seriously and remain vigilant in checking for any signs of unauthorized activity. Businesses like Arizent are responsible for protecting the consumer data in their possession. If evidence emerges that Arizent failed to adequately protect your sensitive information, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a data breach lawsuit.

What Are Consumers’ Remedies in the Wake of the Arizent Data Breach?

When customers decided to do business with Arizent, they assumed that the company would take their privacy concerns seriously. And it goes without saying that consumers 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 consumer data, it also accepts a legal obligation to ensure this information remains private. The United States data breach laws allow consumers to pursue civil data breach claims against organizations that fail to protect their information.

Of course, given the recency of the SourceMedia 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 Arizent 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 SourceMedia, reach out to a data breach attorney as soon as possible.

What Should You Do if You Receive a Source Media Data Breach Notification?

If SourceMedia 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:

  1. Figure Out What Information Was Stolen: Carefully review the data breach letter sent by Mon Health, keeping in mind the information you provided to the company as well as the type of data that was compromised in the breach. You should also take a copy of the data breach letter and keep it for your records. Of course, data breach letters are not always easy to understand. A consumer privacy lawyer can help victims of a data breach understand what was compromised and how to protect themselves.

  2. Prevent the Hacker from Accessing Your Accounts: Once you determine the scope of the breach and how it affected you, you should take all steps to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your credit or financial accounts. For example, you should change all passwords and security questions for your online accounts. You should also consider setting up multi-factor authentication where it is available.

  3. Protect Your Credit and Your Financial Accounts: In the wake of a data breach, companies usually provide free credit monitoring services for a specified period of time. This is not a gimmick, and you do not give up any rights by taking a company up on their offer. Additionally, you should contact one of the three main credit bureaus to request a copy of your credit report. Even if you do not notice any signs of fraud or unauthorized activity, it is a good idea to request a fraud alert. Fraud alerts are free and serve as a red flag to potential lenders and creditors that your information was compromised.

  4. Consider a Credit Freeze: A credit freeze prevents access to your credit report unless you specifically authorize it. Credit freezes are free and last until you remove them. While placing a credit freeze on your accounts may initially seem like a drastic measure, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), doing so is the “single most effective way to prevent a new credit/financial account from being opened.” However, ITRC reports that just 3% of consumers whose information is leaked place a freeze on their accounts. Once a credit freeze is in place, you can temporarily lift the freeze if you need to apply for any type of credit.

  5. Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts: Protecting yourself in the wake of a data breach is not a one-time task. You should continually monitor your credit report and all financial accounts, keeping an eye out for any signs of unauthorized activity or fraud. You may also consider calling your banks and credit card companies to report the fact that your information was compromised in a data breach.

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 SourceMedia :

Dear [Consumer],

Sourcemedia, LLC DBA Arizent (“Arizent”) is writing to make you aware of an incident that may affect the security of some of your personal information. Safeguarding information is among Arizent’s highest priorities, and this letter provides details of the incident, our ongoing response to it, and resources available to you right now to help protect your personal information from possible misuse, should you feel it is appropriate to do so.

What Happened? On May 21, 2021, Arizent became aware of suspicious activity in our computer network. We immediately took steps to minimize any disruption to our operations, secure our network, and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of these incidents with the assistance of industry-leading cybersecurity specialists. The investigation determined there was unauthorized access gained to our network by unknown actors on May 21, 2021 and between July 21-27, 2021. During these brief periods of unauthorized activity, certain files may have been viewed or removed by the unauthorized actors.

Based on the above, we undertook a lengthy and labor-intensive process to identify individuals whose sensitive information was contained in the potentially impacted files. This process completed on December 8, 2021. Following the identification of potentially impacted individuals, we then needed to identify address information for potentially impacted individuals in order to provide notification. We are notifying individuals out of an abundance of caution because the investigation determined that certain information relating to you may have been impacted.

What Information Was Involved? Our investigation determined the following types of information may have been impacted: [Extra2] and name. Arizent does not have any indication at this time that your information was subject to actual or attempted misuse.

What We Are Doing. Information security is among Arizent’s highest priorities, and we have strict security measures in place to protect information in our care. In response to these incidents, we took steps to confirm and strengthen the security of our systems. We are continuously reviewing existing security policies and implemented additional cybersecurity measures to further protect against similar incidents moving forward. We reported this incident to law enforcement and are cooperating with their investigation. We are notifying impacted individuals, including you, so that you may take steps to best protect your information, should you feel it is appropriate to do so. We are also reporting to regulatory authorities, as required.

As an added precaution, we are offering you immediate access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for [Extra3] months at no cost to you, through Experian IdentityWorks. You can find information on how to enroll in these services in the below “Steps You Can Take to Help Protect Your Information.” We encourage you to enroll in these services as we are not able to do so on your behalf.

What You Can Do. We encourage you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud by reviewing your account statements and monitoring your free credit reports for suspicious activity and to detect errors. Please also review the information contained in the enclosed “Steps You Can Take to Help Protect Your Information.”

For More Information. We understand that you may have questions about this incident that are not addressed in this letter. If you have additional questions, please call our dedicated assistance line at (855) 726-7360, toll-free Monday through Friday from 8 am – 10 pm Central, or Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm Central (excluding major U.S. holidays). Be prepared to provide your engagement number: [Engagement Number]. We take this incident very seriously and sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause you.

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