A recent post in a dark web forum is currently being investigated, involving DuoLingo, a language learning platform, after its customer accounts database was allegedly being sold by hackers online. The posted database is comprised of 2.6 million DuoLingo customer account entries.
The starting price for the offered database was $1,500, but it is still up for negotiation. A DuoLingo representative said that they are aware of the issue.
The actor who posted the database also claimed that it contained entries of customers’ emails, usernames, countries, phone numbers, courses, and other vital information about customers’ usage of the language learning platform.
According to the platform’s representative, they believe that the obtained customer data came from a data scraping activity of public information, also as confirmed by the threat actors that posted the database advertisement.
DuoLingo assured that a data breach or a hack has not occurred in their systems.
The language learning platform also stated they are still investigating and will give updates if further action is required. The safety of their learners and customers is their top priority, emphasising that they are taking data privacy and security seriously.
Upon analysing the hacker’s posted advertisement, they said they obtained DuoLingo’s customer database by scraping an exposed API. They also provided sample data consisting of a thousand accounts for interested buyers.
Based on studies, data scraping of public information on social media sites and other platforms like DuoLingo is a problem commonly faced by big corporations and tech companies. These days, numerous tools allowing people to scrape data on exposed APIs have become rampant, which poses threats to the public’s data privacy.
Last year, researchers shared that there has been a 240% increase YoY in web scraping incidents, mostly performed by bot web scrapers. The travel and hospitality sectors are mostly affected by this issue.
While the language learning platform has yet to discover signs of data misuse, its users are advised to remain vigilant of potential cyberattacks.