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RedHotAnt has responded to our request for a comment on its recent security breach.

The ISP has admitted that a hacker did breach site security gaining access to names, addresses, passwords and credit card details of some 24,000 subscribers.

Here, in full and unedited, although interspersed with comments, is a copy of the email we got from RHA director Bob Garrioch.

"First of all my apologies in my delay in responding to yourself with regards to your recent mail to our Clive Allon. The reason for this delay was until I could accretion certain facts and instigate an internal inquiry.

"I trust you will appreciate that it would be wholly inappropriate for us to release any specific information/details regarding this hack however I can say the following.

"Attempting to hack ISP's (along with most institutions retaining sensitive commercial information) would appear to be in danger of becoming something of a national pastime. We have had several unsuccessful attempts in the past and have intercepted all of them successfully.

"We are assured that this attempt was "merely for illustrative purposes" and that there was never any intention to use any of the information in a fraudulent manner- hence the hacker going to the press. I find nothing to amuse me in this statement.
We have taken the following steps.
1. All loopholes under which this hack was performed have been closed."

Very reassuring, since the loophole was nothing more than a lack of security. As the hacker told the Sunday Times: "It was child's play. I didn't actually need to hack in the normal sense because I didn't need any passwords. It was like rooting around in bins for a key and then finding there was a wide-open side entrance."

Presumably, the closure of this loophole means that this information is no longer as easily accessible. Or passwords, hopefully more sophistictaed than QWERTY, have been introduced.

The email continues:

"2. In line with our responsibilities under the Data Protection Act we passed all information onto the appropriate authorities - in this case the computer fraud section of the Kent Constabulary.

"3. We have appointed a group of external consultants to perform a full scale security audit.

"4. I have attached a statement which was sent out to all our users."

But this statement says nothing about which data had been compromised, despite the fact that it was customers personal details that had been up online for anyone with enough persistence to find.

Anyway:

"5. A full internal inquiry has been instigated regarding this matter.

"I trust the above answers your questions however should you require anything further then please do not hesitate to contact either myself or our Clive Allon.

"Best Regards, Bob Garrioch, Director." ®

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