Bad Dog! Wag Labs Socked With Data Breach

January 12, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

For those not immediately familiar with the services provided by Wag Labs, it’s a company that provides a useful link between dog owners looking to have someone walk their dog, and dog walkers who have been pre-vetted and tested in terms of overall skill. Not a bad connection, of course, but the recent connection between Wag Labs and a fairly big new data breach is much less savory.

Wag Labs users routinely turn to the app to not only request a walker immediately—almost like an Uber for dog walkers—but also to schedule a walk for a particular time of day. The company gives customers access to lockboxes to store spare keys, and gives codes to said lockboxes to the dog walkers, so they can go and pick up the dog for the scheduled walk.

The data breach happened in unusual fashion; it wasn’t via hacker attack, but rather via unusual lapse in security. The information in question was contained in a set of pages on the Wag Labs site described as “obscure”, pages that hadn’t been given any level of password protection. Current reports suggest that Social Security numbers or financial data had not been disclosed as a result, nor were any homes broken into.

No one’s sure just how much of that data got found out—it wasn’t like it was right out in the open—but reports note the Wall Street Journal could spot over 100 customers’ records in one day, with 50 sets of lockbox codes as well.

This isn’t great news; people are already kind of weirded out by the notion of letting strangers into their houses even when they’re home, let alone not home. About the only thing that might have saved Wag Labs on this one is that the information in question wasn’t exactly hidden in plain sight. That’s nowhere near good enough, of course, but it may have limited the overall impact and made the problem a lot easier to fix than might be expected. Security has long been a perceived shortfall in mobile, and Wag Labs may well suffer for this breach.

Hopefully Wag Labs has demonstrably shored up its security, because without that point, it’s likely to lose a lot of business.