Millions of email addresses stolen in cyber attack

4 Apr 2011

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A cyber attack on US marketing firm Epsilon has resulted in millions of email addresses being stolen by hackers. The attack could impact customers of major banks, hotels and retailers.

Epsilon represents more than 2,500 brands, including Best Buy, TiVo, JP Morgan and Citgroup.

The company said it had experienced an attack that gave intruders unauthorised access to its email system.

The company has warned that thieves may use the information to launch a phishing campaign and trick them out of vital data, such as codes to log into bank accounts.

“A rigorous assessment has determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk,” Epsilon said in a statement.

“A full investigation is under way," the company said.

Rise in data breaches

The company did not specify which customer lists had been stolen in the attack that seems to have targeted all of the industry segments Epsilon serves.

Companies, including TiVo, have moved to assure customers that their service and other identifiable information were not at risk.

What users can expect to see is an increase in spam and phishing attacks and users need to be vigilant against phishing attacks.

The attack on Epsilon is the latest in a series of data breach attacks on major firms in recent months, including TripAdvisor and Play.com.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com