Sophisticated cyber thieves behind Epsilon attack

April 7, 2011
An online marketing firm hit by what may be one of the biggest data thefts ever was the victim of "highly sophisticated cyber thieves," according to its parent company. Alliance Data Systems Corp. also reiterated that only the names and email addresses of customers were stolen in the attack on its subsidiary, Epsilon, and not credit card information or social security numbers.

An online marketing firm hit by what may be one of the biggest data thefts ever was the victim of "highly sophisticated cyber thieves," according to its parent company.

Alliance Data Systems Corp. also reiterated that only the names and email addresses of customers were stolen in the attack on its subsidiary, Epsilon, and not credit card information or .

Alliance Data said Epsilon is investigating the "unauthorized entry" into its email system with and outside forensics experts and implementing additional security protocols.

"We will leave no stone unturned and are dealing with this malicious act by highly sophisticated cyber thieves with the greatest sense of urgency," Alliance Data chief executive Ed Heffernan said in a statement.

"We fully recognize the impact this has had on our clients and their customers, and on behalf of the entire Alliance Data organization, we sincerely apologize," Heffernan said.

Major US banks, hotels, retail outlets and other companies have been warning customers to be wary of fraudulent emails after Epsilon acknowledged last week that hackers had gained access to the Texas-based company's email system.

Epsilon, which sends out over 40 billion emails a year on behalf of 2,500 companies, has not identified the firms whose customers' names and email addresses were stolen but dozens of US companies have come forward.

They include Hilton and Marriott hotels, telecom giant Verizon, drugstore chain Walgreens, the Home Shopping Network and retailers , Kroger, New York & Co. and Target.

Among the banking and financial firms that have notified customers of the breach are Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, US Bank, Barclays Bank of Delaware and Ameriprise Financial.

Computer security experts said tens of millions of names and email addresses may have been stolen in what they said was one of the largest data thefts in US history.

Epsilon president Bryan Kennedy also issued an apology.

"We are extremely regretful that this incident has impacted a portion of Epsilon's clients and their customers," Kennedy said. "We take consumer privacy very seriously and work diligently to protect customer information.

"We apologize for the inconvenience that this matter has caused consumers and for the potential unsolicited emails that may occur as a result of this incident," he said.

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epsi00
not rated yet Apr 07, 2011
We are extremely regretful that this incident has impacted a portion of Epsilon's clients and their customers," Kennedy said. "We take consumer privacy very seriously and work diligently to protect customer information.


Really? Apparently not seriously enough since hackers were able to steal customers' data.

Let it be a lesson for cost cutting, penny pinching corporations not to concentrate in one spot ( Epsilon corporation ) their data. It would have been practically impossible to hack into every single corporation that is a client of Epsilon.

Who thinks corporations will change the way they do business? I mean the way they protect customers' data. Why bother? Just issue a "heartfelt" apology after the fact and you are off the hook. Back to business as usual.
rgwalther
1 / 5 (2) Apr 07, 2011
Organized 'Cyberthieves' are no different than pirates. The penalty should be hanging.
Birthmark
1 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2011
OK, why don't these hackers attack companies worth attacking, Like Monsanto, or our government!?

This new way of Cyberwar could be beneficial if we learn to use it in the right way. Cybertheives are obviously typical criminals...

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