The personal information of more than 100,000 UK-based firearm owners appears to have been leaked online.
The data was reportedly published on the blog of an animal rights activist in the form of a reformatted CSV file. When imported into Google Earth, the file showed individual home addresses where guns were believed to be stored, along with owners’ zip codes, phone numbers, IP addresses and email addresses.
Blog readers were encouraged to “contact as many [gun owners] as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals.”
News of the leak follows firearm e-tailer Guntrader’s confirmation in July of a data breach impacting more than 100,000 of its customers.
Guntrader sells new and used shotguns, rifles, air rifles, air pistols and shooting equipment via its website, Guntrader.co.uk. In an email to site users, the site’s managing director, Alexander Andover, said that a database belonging to the company had been stolen.
Included in the stolen database was the personal information of users who had registered with Guntrader between 2016 and 2021 using the vendor’s own electronic gun register software.
An investigation into the Guntrader breach and its repercussions has been launched by the UK’s National Crime Agency, which said that it “is aware that information has been published online as a result of a recent data breach which impacted Guntrader.”
The agency said: “We are working closely with the South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit, who are leading the criminal investigation, to support the organization and manage any risk.”
Guntrader said that the stolen data did not include any financial information. The site has advised users to change their passwords.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) responded to the breach with a statement that read: “Our advice to members would be to check home security and be extra vigilant. Make sure all firearms are appropriately locked away and make sure buildings are kept secure.”
Mark Montaldo, a director and data breach specialist at UK-based CEL Solicitors, said: “I’ve already spoken to several Guntrader users who are naturally afraid for their safety making this a really serious breach.”