Insights Blog Creepy Spooky Software


Creepy Spooky Software

Find out what kind of spooks and scares software can hold, and what can happen.

Welcome, boys and ghouls, to a Halloween edition of gremlins-in-the-news.  I’m not talking outages that are just inconvenient.  I’m talking violations (software-related but not necessarily bugs) involving your privacy, trust or safety.

We are all vulnerable to technology’s accessibility, lack of privacy, and reach into our personal finances. But while the largest numbers of people affected may be shocking, those may not be the creepiest cases.

What about revealing information about children?  Or selling recalled products?  Or stealing your money?  Or secretly storing information about electronic sex toy use?  Like “It” or hate “It”, we all have our own private fears.  Below is a list detailing some of the violations discovered or settled this year:

 Who People affected? Settlement and/or more details
 Home Depot ??? $5.7M, for selling 1000’s of products after they were recalled for safety reasons
 Peppe’s Pizza ??? No fine, not lots of people, but public facial recognition commentary (age, gender, eye contact duration) was publicly displayed.  Creepy?
 OKCupid ??? Trying for $5M, baited users to pay only to discover that their match is no longer an active member
 We-Vibe ??? $4M, for privately collecting personal information on how customers used Bluetooth-enabled sex toys
 1 Hotels 1 All hotel charges fitting a certain pattern were charged to a prior hotel guest whose payment info should not have been retained
 UK company operating in Italy 583 €5.88M, for sending money to China without consent
 Florida Blue 9,500 Repeated e-draws (like charging 26x) of legitimate single charges causing overdrafts
 St. Joseph Health 31,800 $2.14M, new server was missing security settings
 Three Mobile 210,200
 Wonga 245,000
 Bupa (healthcare) 500,000
 TalkTalk 500,000 £100,000
 Horizon BCBS 690,000 $1.1M
 Spiral Toys 2,800,000 With data on 800K kids interacting with virtual pets
 Vizio 11,000,000 $2.2M
 NICE Systems 14,000,000 Verizon users
 Ashley Madison 37,000,000 $11.2M, publicly revealed spouse cheaters


79,000,000 $115M
 Target 110,000,000 $18.5M, data breach settlement
 Equifax 188,000,000 $200M
 Deep Root Analytics 198,000,000
 Yahoo 500,000,000 people, 3B emails (discovered this year, but occurred earlier)