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FTC Takes Action Against CafePress Over Massive Data Breach, Cover-Up

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday announced that it has finalized an order against CafePress, requiring it to improve its security posture following a cybersecurity incident that the company attempted to cover up.

CafePress is an online retailer of products such as T-shirts, bags, calendars and mugs, which users can customize with their own graphics designs or texts. It also allows users to have virtual shops on the platform.

The FTC order was finalized roughly four months after a settlement over the poor cybersecurity practices employed by CafePress, which have led to sensitive personal information being compromised in a data breach.

The breach came to light in 2019 and it reportedly impacted 23 million accounts. Despite repeated attempts to get the company to take proper action, CafePress not only failed to secure its systems, but also decided not to inform impacted customers about this and other cybersecurity incidents.

A complaint was filed against former CafePress owner Residual Pumpkin Entity, LLC, and against the current owner, PlanetArt, LLC. The complaint claims that CafePress retained user data longer than needed, stored Social Security numbers in plaintext, failed to secure its systems against known threats, and covered up the 2019 data breach.

On Friday, the FTC announced that, per its finalized order, Residual Pumpkin and PlanetArt are required to improve their security practices through the adoption of multi-factor authentication, to minimize the amount of collected data, and to store Social Security numbers encrypted.

Per the FTC’s order, each of the two companies needs to implement a comprehensive information security program – “that protects the privacy, security, confidentiality, and integrity of such Personal Information” – within 60 days after the issuance of the order.

Additionally, both companies are required to have their information security programs assessed by a third-party and to provide the FTC with a copy of the assessment that can be publicly shared.

Furthermore, the FTC ordered Residual Pumpkin to pay $500,000 that will be sent as relief to the victims of the data breach and asked PlanetArt to notify consumers whose personal information was compromised.

The two companies are also required to provide the FTC with an annual certification from a senior corporate manager, detailing both their compliance with the order and a description of any cyber incident that might have occurred during the certified period. All incidents should be reported to the FTC within 30 days.

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