UK gun owners urged to be ‘vigilant’ after Guntrader data breach

100,000 customer names and addresses have been published to the dark web

A person unloading a hunting shotgun

UK gun owners are being urged to be vigilant to potential burglaries following the theft of customer data from a firearms seller.

Popular firearms marketplace site Guntrader has said that hackers managed to obtain 100,000 customer records and publish them to the dark web, following a breach on its systems earlier this week, as reported by the BBC. No suspects have yet been named.

The stolen data includes names and addresses of Guntrader customers, although gun ownership information and the location of where the firearms are stored are not thought to be included.

Due to the high number of affected customers, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been notified of the breach.

Following the news, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) urged gun owners to exercise vigilance due to the threat of being targeted by criminals looking to acquire firearms.

BASC’s head of firearms Martin Parker advised the association’s members to “check home security and be extra vigilant”.

“Make sure all firearms are appropriately locked away and make sure buildings are kept secure. Follow normal good crime security advice and report anything suspicious to the police,” he said, adding: “The National Crime Agency is aware of the issue and BASC is working with them to ensure we can update members as quickly as possible as the situation develops.”

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Firearms ownership is heavily restricted in the UK, with any purchase having to be approved by law enforcement. However, this also means that guns are in high demand among criminals.

In a similar case in 2017, the Metropolitan Police came under fire for mistakenly leaking the personal data of 30,000 London-based rifle and shotgun owners. The names and addresses had been provided to a direct mail marketing agency for a commercial firm's advertising campaign about the use of Smart Water – invisible ink technology which helps identify stolen items.

Victims of the data breach were only made aware of the incident after the leaflets were sent to their homes.

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