Payday lender Wonga confirms data breach

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Controversial "payday" lender Wonga has suffered a major data breach in which the personal information of more than a quarter of million customers may have been pinched by malefactors.

"We believe there may have been illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of our customers", a statement issued by the company reads.

"In other data breaches to date, mainly e-mail addresses and passwords have been lost, however on this occasion a variety of information - including bank account details, names and addresses - has been breached, making this more serious". In an official statement Wonga has said it "sincerely apologises" and is "working closely with authorities" as well as "informing affected customers".

The firm said it knew that something fishy was going on last Tuesday, but did not become aware of a data breach until Friday.

The police, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the FCA have been alerted.

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"Cyber attacks are, unfortunately, on the rise".

Wonga has said it doesn't believe that customers' loan accounts have been affected but warns they should be vigilant.

David Emm, principle security researcher at Kaspersky Lab said: "This is yet another case of a data breach, further underlining the need for regulation".

If you're one of Wonga's affected customers or you're anxious you could be, the company has set up a help page on its website.

While Wonga.com has claimed to have found no evidence that passwords were compromised in the attack, using the incident as an opportunity to cycle to new passwords across linked services would not be an inadvisable move to make. Be cautious of anyone who calls you and asks you to disclose any personal information regardless of where they say they are from. While Wonga operates to the highest security standards, these illegal attacks are unfortunately increasingly sophisticated.

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