Editor’s Note: In late May 2024, Evolve Bank & Trust suffered a cyberattack by the LockBit ransomware group after an employee clicked on a malicious link. The breach led to the exposure of personal and financial information of Evolve’s customers, as well as those of its fintech partners, including Affirm and Wise. Despite not paying the ransom, LockBit leaked the data, which included names, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and contact information. Affirm and Wise have initiated investigations and enhanced their security measures. Authorities are continuing to pursue LockBit, which has been active despite previous infiltration attempts.

Content Assessment: Evolve Bank Cyberattack Exposes Sensitive Data, Impacts Fintech Partners Wise and Affirm

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Industry News – Cybersecurity Beat

Evolve Bank Cyberattack Exposes Sensitive Data, Impacts Fintech Partners Wise and Affirm

ComplexDiscovery Staff

In a significant cybersecurity incident, Evolve Bank & Trust suffered a ransomware attack by the notorious LockBit gang, leading to the exposure of sensitive data from its retail customers and financial technology partners. The breach, which took place in late May, was confirmed by both Evolve and its affected partners, Wise and Affirm, and has raised grave concerns about data security in the fintech sector.

Evolve revealed that the LockBit ransomware group gained access to its systems after an employee inadvertently clicked on a malicious link. The attackers encrypted some data, but Evolve’s backups mitigated substantial data loss. However, refusing to pay the ransom resulted in the hackers leaking the stolen information on the dark web.

The breach compromised sensitive personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, contact details, Social Security numbers, and bank account numbers of Evolve’s customers and those of its fintech partners. Evolve, which initially mistook the attack as targeting the US Federal Reserve, disclosed that the breach also affected its employees’ personal data.

Wise, a firm providing international money transfer services, confirmed that the breach impacted some of its customers. The company had partnered with Evolve from 2020 to 2023 to offer USD account details. Wise assured that its own systems were not compromised and stated, “Some Wise customers’ personal information may have been involved.” Wise has initiated an investigation and will notify affected customers directly.

Similarly, Affirm, which offers buy now, pay later services and issues the Affirm Card through Evolve, announced that its customers’ data was compromised. Affirm specified in an SEC filing, “Because [Affirm] shares the personal information of Affirm Card users with Evolve to facilitate the issuance and servicing of Affirm Cards, [Affirm] believes that the personal information of Affirm Card users was compromised as part of Evolve’s cybersecurity incident.” Affirm emphasized that its operational systems remained secure and unaffected by the breach.

Evolve acknowledged the breach on its website, highlighting the measures it has taken in response, including contacting law enforcement and initiating a comprehensive investigation. The bank stressed that “there is no evidence that the criminals accessed any customer funds,” but confirmed that data was accessed and downloaded from their databases in February and May. Evolve plans to send breach notification letters to affected individuals, offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

Affirm, in its statements, assured customers that the breach has not impacted other parts of its business or operations and highlighted its enhanced fraud monitoring efforts. Affirm’s proactive communication included a breach notification letter shared on X and an FAQ page for customer inquiries. Despite the breach’s significant impact, the company does not foresee any substantial financial repercussions.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the growing threat posed by ransomware attacks and underscores the need for robust cybersecurity measures within the banking and fintech industries. As investigations continue, affected companies and customers are urged to stay vigilant and take preventive steps to safeguard their information.

The fintech sector, known for its reliance on digital infrastructure, must prioritize cybersecurity to protect sensitive data and maintain customer trust. The collaboration between fintech firms and traditional banks necessitates stringent security protocols to mitigate risks and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. The Evolve Bank breach exemplifies the broader challenges faced by the industry and highlights the critical importance of ongoing vigilance and robust security frameworks.

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