A Clearcover email marketing account was hacked early Monday, exposing an undetermined number of client email addresses to “hateful and obscene” messages, the data-driven auto InsurTech startup disclosed.
“An external account Clearcover uses to send marketing emails was compromised this morning [Oct. 8]; the sender used an individual employee’s account to send emails. We sincerely apologize to anyone who received them,” a company statement on the matter explained.
Clearcover added: “We are going to the furthest lengths necessary to make this right, including reporting the emails to local and federal law enforcement. We also are working with forensic experts to understand the source.”
The company declined to disclose the email contents. But CEO Kyle Nakatsuji said in his Twitter disclosure about the incident that the messages “were hateful and obscene.”
Clearcover said it had reported the incident to local and federal law enforcement and it has “partnered with a forensic investigator to understand the source and confirm the number of email addresses affected.”
The company said that to the best of its knowledge, the emails “were sent to only a minor subset of contacts in our email marketing system.” As a precaution, Clearcover said it is following the advice of a “forensic investigator, law enforcement and other IT security experts, including changing passwords and conducting security scans.”
A Clearcover spokesperson said that the company disclosed what happened to everyone who received the offending emails and also posted what happened on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
As well, the company is also drafting an email to all of its customers, even those who were not affected.
Clearcover, based in Chicago, Ill., announced an initial $11.5 million funding round in 2017 led by Lightbank. Greycroft Partners, 500 Startups, Silicon Valley Bank and other unnamed insurance and fintech investors also participated.
The company uses a data-driven platform and artificial intelligence to make custom coverage recommendations, something Clearcover asserts streamlines the auto insurance buying process and eliminates the need for excessive marketing. Clearcover claims the process boosts efficiency and can save customers 50 percent on car insurance.