And those email security breaches keep on coming...

5 April 2011

Bitterwallet - spamYesterday we reported on the massive security breach at Epsilon, an online marketing firm, that affected some of the world's biggest brands. But while the Texas-based company and the majority of the businesses are US-based, we're hearing about a lot of avid Bitterwallet readers in the UK who have been affected.

Readers Kiara and Jade received warnings from Benefit Cosmetics, while Chris had received an email from TiVo that stated his email address had been exposed – even though Chris has never had any contact with or passed his details onto TiVo.

This morning, more companies have admitted Epsilon has lost their customer data, which is predominantly used for email newsletters and marketing; reader Chris avidly informed us of another email he received today from Best Buy, saying "files containing the email addresses of some Best Buy customers were accessed without authorization."

Meanwhile readers Simon, Damien and Katy have all heard from Hilton Worldwide - "Epsilon has stressed that the only information accessed was names and e-mail addresses."

As we mentioned yesterday, it's hardly the stuff of apocalypses, more a guarantee that your details will be folded into some überdatabase and result in phishing attempts and offers to make her "gush like a blowhole all night long" until the end of time.

TOPICS:   Advertising   Gadgets   Travel


  • Chris
    Is there any possibility that the companies who have employed the services of this Texas-based company have breached the Data Protection Act: "Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area, unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data."
  • Andrew R.
    A helpful tip for fellow avid bitterwallet readers - if you have an email address with GMail or MobileMe, you can use plus addressing to filter your mail you receive and, if it's ever compromised, you can create a rule to simply can all email to that address. For example, if you signed up to Best Buy and your normal email address was [email protected] you could have: [email protected] and you will receive it as normal. So you could end up with [email protected], [email protected] etc. etc. This helps for two reasons, a) you can identify wherever spam came from and query the company and b) if it's ever compromised you can just create a rule to trash all email to that address, rather than compromise your entire address. This works in GMail, MobileMe and Yahoo Mail - top tip!
  • Andrew R.
    And Chris - I think as long as the company in question specifies that data may be held outside of the EEC/UK in their Privacy Policy, they're alright on that front.
  • Paul
    Nice try Epsilon A.K.A Andrew Robinson
  • Andrew R.
    Lol :) I post on here all the time, I am an email marketer but I are not Epsilon! I find it really useful, just basically knowing each email from each shop/website you subscribe to, can easily pinpoint which bastard has sold your email without your permission!
  • bittertraveller
    @Andrew Robinson I've done that before. The company let me sign up but then when I grew tired of their offers they didn't let me unsubscribe. The '+' in the email address wasn't a valid email address.
  • Delenn
    A very simple solution (which I use) is to buy a domain name. Then I set email as (eg [email protected] , [email protected] etc) This way, I know where the spam comes from, and it is easy to kill any single address that gets spam!
  • Emma
    Just got emailed by Marks and Spencer about this data breach. :|
  • m
    so, basically epsilon has gone and sold a few email addresses... feeling the crises are we? Anyway, got an email from marriott that emails have been lost.
  • Not s.
    Marks & Spencers spam! They emailed me last night - also a victim of this hack. I think I am going to publish my personal details all over facebook and make my profile public - much easier.
  • Now B.
    [...] customer email database was half-inched by evil hackers. The hackery was in fact part of the recent attack on Epsilon that we featured yesterday. They are a marketing firm who deal with the M&S email list; some American companies like [...]

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