This is no April Fool’s Joke. Some security experts are saying this may be the biggest security breach ever.
On April 1, Epsilon, an online marketing unit of Alliance Data Systems Corp., announced that an outside intrusion had hacked into many of its customer files. In a brief statement, Epsilon says it detected a breach on March 30 during which “clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s e-mail system.”
Epsilon runs email campaigns and send offers to consumers who register for a company’s website. Epsilon sends more than 40 billion e-mails annually and also runs loyalty programs for Citi and Chase credit card users.
Banking institutions and retailers that are affecte by this breach: Citi, Capitol One, Verizon, Chase, U.S. Bank, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Brookstone, Kroger, Marriott International, Walgreens, Visa, New York & Co., TiVo, HSN and L.L. Bean.
How could this affect you?
If your name and email address were included in this breach, you should be aware that Epsilon’s databases house consumer information cybercriminals could use for targeted phishing attacks (“A way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” – Wikipedia.)
So be especially suspicious of emails that look like they are from your financial institution or a retailer you know.
Good practices to follow:
- Never provide your login ID or password requested through email.
- Don’t respond to e-mails that require you to enter personal information directly into the e-mail.
- Don’t respond to e-mails threatening to close your account if you do not take the immediate action of providing personal information.
- Do not provide or confirm any information, including credit card numbers requested through email.
- Don’t use your e-mail address as a login ID or password.
- Be caution when opening links or attachments from unknown senders.
- Delete any emails requesting personal information.