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Email Breach Could Affect Millions

David Gilbert by

Email Breach Could Affect Millions

A major breach of security at a communications company has left millions of people’s email addresses in the hands of an unknown hacker.

On Friday evening, Epsilon, the world’s largest permission-based email marketing company, reported a major breach of security where possibly millions of people’s email addresses and their associated name had been stolen. Epsilon serves more than 2,500 clients mostly based in the United States, including Best Buy, TiVo, Walgreens, Capital One, JP Morgan and Citigroup – and sends up to 40 billion emails annually on their behalf. So far they have listed 17 companies whose email databases have been affected and the list is expected to grow in the coming hours and days.

Epsilon said in a brief statement on its website that it had detected a breach where “clients' customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon's e-mail system." It added that other than the live email addresses and the associated name, no other personal information was stolen and that it was carrying out a full investigation into the matter. Some of the companies affected, such as TiVo, have been in touch with their customers to warn them of the possibility of receiving spam email at the addresses given to the company.

The problem now is that the hackers have a list of live email addresses given to specific companies with the associated names and will be able to tailor more specific and sophisticated phishing or spam emails to those accounts. It is also worrying that the email addresses are in the hands of hackers able to break into the database of a huge multi-national corporation which, one would hope, has pretty sophisticated security systems in place.

Source: SecurityWeek

Go to comments

Jay4d0

April 4, 2011, 7:11 pm

this follows on the heals of Play.coms email mailer provider Silverpop having all their email addresses stolen 2 weeks ago.

hopefully peoples spam filters will protect them from the spam.

but as a side note recieving spam because your email address has been stolen is one thing,
having an organisation share/give your email out to recieve spam is another
(ps I'm looking at your TR, I'm recieving emails from 'goodtoknow' part of IPC Media Ltd, and since the only company I have ever signed upto that is part of IPC Media Ltd is TR, the finger points to you to who has shared my email address, tut tut TR tut tut!)

Greg Shewan

April 4, 2011, 7:49 pm

@Jay - well if that is true then shame on you TR... are you becoming part of the 'anything for profit' generation internet media companies?

Well this is some embarrassing stuff on Epsilon's part. Wow, 'The Cloud'... not quite the future, at least when something is on my HDD I believe it is just that much safer.

I know it was just email addresses and user ID etc. but the fact remains that some clever and unscrupulous person could get hold of anything and the risk of data on the net is a little high at the moment till we live in a free utopian and wired world.

Guest

April 4, 2011, 8:08 pm

@jay, I am also getting crap emails to an email address that only TR know from this "goodtoknow"! Totally outrageous. TUT TUT indeed TR! I couldn't find any TR support email addresses on the TR site, so forwarded onto Cliff Jones! (No reply of course). Really annoys me that companies do this. Any comment TR?

theDman

April 4, 2011, 9:53 pm

Yup. I received an email from Play.com about emails being leaked, and also from AbeBooks, who use Epsilon.

Greg17b

April 5, 2011, 12:13 am

I work with IPC Media at work, and like many wide interest media companies, you sign up for one and you sign up for the lot. But then you can only unsubscribe one at a time - pretty difficult when you don't know what you're signed up to!

In the end I cured it with a good old-fashioned letter http://www.ipcmedia.com/privac...

Guest

April 5, 2011, 1:58 am

IPC Media need to learn that sending SPAM is not a good way to advertise. As soon as I get junk like that, which I didn't ask for, then I instantly go off that company. I have checked my TR profile and I can't see anywhere to unsubscribe from this kind of junk. I think I even signed up with TR before IPC bought them. And why suddenly start doing it now? I suspect some muppet in the Marketing dept got a nice bonus for all the extra circulation of junk! Pah!

Castalan

April 6, 2011, 12:15 am

I too recently received an email from Goodtoknow - and was worried as to why as I am very very careful with this email address ... I felt I could trust TR with this email address but it seems not ... time to break out the spam email account and start using that again

Cliff

April 26, 2011, 5:51 pm

All, this happened due to a technical problem when migrating newsletter info in preparation for the launch of our new TR site. A small number of users were accidentally subscribed to the goodtoknow newsletter as a result. We immediately did the work to identify who was affected and unsubscribed users, and we apologise for any inconvenience. If anyone is still receiving information you don't want, please let us know and we'll put it right.

Goodtoknow is part of the IPC group and uses some of the same systems, so please be assured this isn't a breach of data, just a regrettable technical hitch.

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