Feeds

Feds probe '100 site' data breach

McDonald's Silverpopped

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

FBI agents looking into the theft of customer data belonging to McDonald's are investigating similar breaches that may have hit more than 100 other companies that used email marketing services from Atlanta-based Silverpop Systems .

“The breach is with Silverpop, an email service provider that has over 105 customers,” Stephen Emmett, a special agent in the FBI's Atlanta field office, told The Register. “It appears to be emanating from an overseas location.”

He declined to provide further details.

Over the past week, at least two other sites – one known to have ties to Silverpop and the other that appears to – offered similar warnings to their customers. deviantART, a website that boasts more than 16 million registered accounts, warned its users that their email addresses, user names and birth dates were exposed to suspected spammers as a result of a breach at the email provider.

“Silverpop Systems, Inc., a leading marketing company that sends email messages for its clients, told us that information was taken from its servers,” devantART's email stated. “We can assure you that nothing occurred on our systems with respect to this incident and no access was gained to private information on deviantART's servers. Because we value the information that members give us, we have decided not to rely on the services of Silverpop in the future and their servers will no longer hold any data from us.”

And late last week, Walgreens, the largest US drugstore chain, warned that hackers stole a customer list and used it to send them phishing emails that sought additional personal information.

Walgreens didn't say how the list was stolen, but according to this press release, the drugstore chain uses Arc Worldwide as its "promotional marketing 'agency of record.'" The marketing services arm of Leo Burnett USA, Arc Worldwide was the same business partner that hired the unnamed email database provider that lost the McDonald's customer list. And as the press release here makes clear, Arc Worldwide counts Silverpop as a partner.

A receptionist answering main number for marketing company Arc Worldwide said she didn't have a public relations department to transfer reporters to. A spokeswoman for Silverpop declined to answer questions, but issued a statement that read in part:

When we recently detected suspicious activity in a small percentage of our customer accounts, we took aggressive measures to stop that activity and prevent future attempts. Among other things, we unilaterally changed all passwords to protect customer accounts and engaged the FBI's cybercrime division. It appears Silverpop was among several technology providers targeted as part of a broader cyber attack. We have notified all customers impacted by this activity. We are currently focused on working with our customers, especially the small percentage impacted by these events.

Beyond the cliche about chains being only as strong as their weakest links, the lesson here is that companies that expose their customers' secret data can't be trusted unless they come clean about what went wrong and what they've done to prevent it from happening again. So far, Silverpop hasn't done that, which is something readers should remember the next time they're asked to share their personal details with Salesforce.com, Ciena, Edgar Online; IBM's Coremetrics division or Adobe's Omniture business unit, to name just a few.

What you don't know could come back to bite you in the ass. Just ask McDonald's, deviantART and (probably) Walgreens. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?