Essential Founder Apologizes & Clarifies Customer Data Leak

Following yesterday's news that some Essential customers appeared to be the target of a phishing attempt, Andy Rubin has taken to the company's official website to both clarify the problem and apologize. In short, the founder revealed that the apparent attack was not a phishing attempt but that the emails themselves were from the company. In fact, it was the result of a mistake in the company's customer care function which resulted "misconfigured" customer service account. That account has since been deactivated but, as was reported earlier, the account inadvertently sent out an email, which asked for photo identification and other highly sensitive personal information to a large group of people. However, the information from approximately 70 respondents ended up being sent to other customers who gained access to some highly sensitive details.

Aside from apologizing and clarifying where the problem actually originated, in addition to disabling that rogue account, Rubin says the company has taken steps to incorporate "additional safeguards" in order to prevent the problem from happening again. No details were provided as to what steps were taken, and although only speculative, it is likely that accounts will undergo more strident vetting when they are being configured and that the company has gone through its other official accounts to ensure no others were misconfigured. Rubin has also said that Essential will be offering each affected customer a year of LifeLock service. For those who don't know, LifeLock is an identity protection service that provides its users with oversight and alerts so that they can monitor how, when, and where their personal information is used. Just because the "attack" wasn't actually a phishing scam doesn't make that additional offer unnecessary. However unlikely it is, any of those customers who received the personal details could have malicious intent or could make their own mistake by saving the details for whatever reason - which could result in another leak of those details later on. With that said, the offer should provide some peace of mind to customers whose information may have been viewed by total strangers due to Essential's mistake.

On a personal level, Rubin says that being a founder is not always nice and that it can be a "humiliating" and "humbling experience." In his recent statement on the matter, he went on to thank customers and investors alike for their understanding and patience as the company pushes forward.

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