• '100 million individuals' affected in Capital One data breach; former Seattle tech worker arrested

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    A former Seattle software engineer was arrested Monday on suspicion of criminal computer fraud and abuse of the Capital One Financial Corporation's stored data. 

    Capital One said “this event affected approximately 100 million individuals in the United States and approximately 6 million in Canada.” Read the full statement from Capital One here

    The U.S. Attorney's Office said Paige A. Thompson, 33, was identified by FBI cyber investigators after they linked her to posts made about the data theft on the information sharing site GitHub. See video of federal authorities coming to arrest her below. 
    Related >> Video shows raid on Seattle home of Capital One hacking suspect

    A GitHub user informed Capital One about the data breach on July 17, and the FBI was contacted. 

    Federal investigators determined the posts were tied to Thompson just two days later and served a search warrant at her home, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Thompson is a former Amazon employee, according to her housemate and LinkedIn. Amazon did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

    “We didn’t know what she was doing,” said Thompson’s Beacon Hill housemate in an interview with KIRO 7 Monday, who did not want to be publicly identified. “You’re still stealing from somebody.”

    Officials said they seized electronic storage devices where copies of the data had been stored.

    “She didn’t want to come out – she was like why are you here?” said Thompson’s roommate. “Her Twitter handle is very fitting – you’ve seen it, ‘erratic.’ That’s pretty much the best way to describe her.”

    Officials said they seized electronic storage devices where copies of the data had been stored.

    "Capital One quickly alerted law enforcement to the data theft -- allowing the FBI to trace the intrusion," Brian T. Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said in a statement. "I commend our law enforcement partners who are doing all they can to determine the status of the data and secure it."

    Thompson made her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday and is expected to remain in custody pending a hearing on Thursday.

    Experts say a credit freeze is the best thing you can do if you're a victim.

    That limits access to your credit report, blocking out new creditors and making it harder for thieves to open accounts in your name. It also does not affect your credit score, and freezing your credit is free. 

    It used to cost $10 at each of the three main credit bureaus. But after a big Equifax breach in 2017, KIRO 7's Jesse Jones began campaigning for free credit freezes for all. The state legislature approved the change last year. A few months later, Congress passed a similar bill nationwide.


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