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Adidas pulls down sites hit in 'sophisticated' hack

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Adidas has taken some of its websites offline as a precaution following the discovery of a "sophisticated, criminal cyber-attack".

The sportswear manufacturer said it decided to take potentially affected websites offline, as a precaution, following the discovery last Thursday of a hack attack. It reassured customers that it had no reason to think consumers' data had been exposed as the result of the assault, the causes of which it is continuing to investigate. In a statement (extract below), Adidas said it planned to beef up the security of the affected sites before restoring them online. Sites affected include adidas.com, reebok.com and various local e-commerce shops.

On November 3, 2011, the adidas Group found out that it was the target of a sophisticated, criminal cyber-attack. Our preliminary investigation has found no evidence that any consumer data is impacted. But, while we continue our thorough forensic review, we have taken down affected sites, including adidas.com, reebok.com, miCoach.com, adidas-group.com and various local eCommerce shops, in order to protect visitors to our sites.

Since learning about the issue, we have put in place a number of additional data security measures. The changes reflect enhancements to the high standards consumers have come to expect from the adidas Group and its brands.

Nothing is more important to us than the privacy and security of our consumers' personal data. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time.

A holding page at Adidas.com, for example, states that "due to technical difficulties our website is currently not available", and points surfers towards Adidas eCommerce shops that remain open (in Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, the UK and the US).

The motives – much less the identity – of the hackers remains unclear. Adidas' statement implies that hackers might have planted malicious scripts on the targeted website, an explanation that would certainly explain why the sites were taken down as a precaution. However this remains only one of several possible explanations and there's no public reports from anti-firms to support the theory.

Eddy Willems of German anti-virus firm G Data praised Adidas for acting responsibly.

"The attack on Adidas is an example of how cyber-crime has become an International sport in the past year or so, as we have seen more and more big brands compromised worldwide," he said.

"The good thing is that Adidas, unlike many recent cyber-crime victims, seems to be acting quickly and have security in mind. The hack appears to be only to the website and not the databases which suggests that no customer data have been compromised," he added. ®

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