By Luc Daniel from Safe Pay Training LLC
Florida, Friday April 8, 2011
Last Friday April 1, 2011, Epsilon announced in a press release that “an incident was detected where a subset* of its clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s email system”. According to the company, the incident was detected on March 30th and the compromised data was limited to clients’ names and email addresses. No other personal identifiable information (PII) associated with those names was at risk. In an updated note released on April 04, Epsilon indicated that the affected clients are only 2% of its clients’ base. However, we don’t know how large Epsilon client base is. All we know is that Epsilon is a very large company providing Email Marketing services to more than 50 of the largest corporations in the World. (Info security Magazine, April 08, 2011).
By law, the affected companies have to notify their clients about the breach and Epsilon is expected to provide free credit monitoring services to all affected customers worldwide for at least two years. You should be concerned about this data breach reported last week and you may have already received a notification from your bank, brokerage firm, or any affected provider that had access to your email address or name.
What you should do to protect yourself?
- Be alert about emails you’re receiving. Email scams and phishing activities are expected to increase in the forseeable future.
- Be vigilant with regard to opening emails and/or accessing links sent by unknown sources
- Don’t provide any personal information requested by emails; contact the person or the company directly if you think the request could be legitimate.
If you think you are at risk because you were dealing with one of the affected companies, you can call your provider or Epsilon’s hotline for Consumer Inquiries in the US and Canada at (866)-595-4896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Some of the affected companies are: Chase Bank, TD Ameritrade, Scott Trade, Citi Bank, Bank of America, Target, M & T Bank, Verizon, Best Buy, Walgreens, Mother Care, Marks & Spencer etc.
This breach may be the largest in US history and will probably trigger new regulations about consumer Privacy and Data Security since congress is now investigating the incident. According to American Banking News, millions of emails and names were stolen by hackers. The chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law Sen. Al Franken advised that Americans should know more about who owns their information. (Politico, April 08, 2011).
“Most of the people affected by the Epsilon breach had never heard of that company before this week,” Franken told Politico in a statement. “We need to give Americans more awareness about who has their information and greater ability to protect it.” He added.
Epsilon is the industry’s leading marketing services firm. The company claims to be the largest permission-based email marketer in the world distributing 40 billion emails annually. Epsilon is an Alliance Data company (NYSE: ADS). Alliance is based in Texas. For more information, visit htto://www.epsilon.com or http://www.alliancedata.com/ or call 1.800.309.0505.
About Safe Pay Training LLC
Safe Pay Training LLC is proud to carry the vision to be recognized as the world’s most Advanced Training dedicated to educate merchants and consumers about Data Security, consumer privacy, Risk Management, Compliance and Fraud Prevention. The company firmly believes that education and awareness are keys to defeat the perpetrators of both financial and cyber crimes. Safe Pay Training is investing heavily to establish a Safe Certification to ensure that the certified “Safe Merchants”, their staff and “Safe consumers” can transact with Trust and Confidence any time anywhere. For more information visit http://www.safepaytraining.com or call (561) 492-9611.
American Banking News: (ABMN staff, April 05, 2011): Data Breach at Epsilon Exposes Millions of E-mails to Hacker retrieved on April 08, 2011 from http://www.americanbankingnews.com/2011/04/05/data-breach-at-epsilon-exposes-millions-of-e-mails-to-hacker
Info Security Magazine (staff writer, April 8, 2011): Mothercare follows M&S down the Epsilon data breach trail retrieved from http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/17210/mothercare-follows-ms-down-the-epsilon-data-breach-trail/
Romm, T (Politico, April 07, 2011): Al Franken keeping eye on Epsilon breach. Retrieved on April 08, 2011 from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52731.html