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ecademy exposes customer emails to world+dog

Snafu with a side of spam

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ecademy - the business-orientated social networking site - left supposedly private support emails sent through the site publicly viewable as the result of a programming snafu earlier this week.

Correspondence between the site and its members was left viewable by simple URL manipulation. The class of vulnerability has hit several other websites in the past, occasionally exposing financially sensitive billing information.

In a statement, ecademy said the issue was quickly resolved and limited to support requests, rather than private messages between members. However it admitted that some of the emails exposed did contain sensitive information, such as complaints about other users.

Ecademy became aware of an issue with external visibility some if its support communications on Saturday 16th December and within 30 minutes had resolved the issue. Ecademy would like to stress that the visible communications were of a support nature only and were categorically not private messages between members.

Contrary to claims that hundreds of thousands of support records were visible, Ecademy has less than 19,000 support requests currently in the system, most of which are simple requests for help with the website.

However, from time to time, some members used the support system to record a complaint about another member. Ecademy operates a separate procedure for members wishing to provide member feedback and on this particular occasion a member had used the support system to lodge feedback about another member, and it was this communication which has been circulated.

Ecademy treats the privacy of its members as a top priority and apologises for any inconvenience or distress caused by this fault.

The issue was exposed by internet technology entrepreneur Paul Walsh on Monday in a blog posting here.

Walsh joined ecademy in its early days as a pioneer in professional networking but quickly grew disillusioned. "I joined a few years ago but never used it - I still get connection requests from weirdo life coaches," he writes.

More recently other members of the service have complained of frequent spam messages, Techcrunch adds. ®

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