About 50 clients hit by Epsilon e-mail marketing breach

The incident affected about 2 percent of Epsilon's 2,500 clients

About 50 companies were affected by a major security breach at e-mail service provider Epsilon Interactive that caused many U.S. corporations to warn their customers of online attacks Monday.

Epsilon first warned of the incident Friday, saying that someone had got into company systems and obtained e-mail addresses and names belonging to some of its customers. But it wasn't immediately clear how many of its 2,500 clients were at risk. Epsilon is still being tight-lipped about the problem, but it has now given a clearer picture of how many companies are affected.

In a brief statement posted to Epsilon's website Monday, the company said that "approximately 2 percent of total clients" -- about 50 businesses -- were hit.

Customers of many of these businesses, which include Target, Citigroup, Tivo and Walgreens, woke up Monday to e-mail warnings, telling them that their e-mail addresses had been stolen, and that spam or malicious messages could be coming their way. But so far, Epsilon has refused to provide a detailed list of all companies that were affected.

Companies hire Epsilon to send out a total of more than 40 billion messages on their behalf each year.

With millions of addresses thought to have been stolen, the problem may be worse than many people realize, security experts said Monday.

That's because once scammers know their victims' names and e-mail addresses, along with the companies that they do business with, they can craft very targeted "spear-phishing" e-mail attacks that try to trick victims into revealing more sensitive information such as passwords or account numbers.

"Everybody is downplaying it by saying, 'at least they didn't get financial information.' Well that's true, but what they did get was enough to potentially get financial information [in a phishing attack]," said Neil Schwartzman, executive director with the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, a consumer advocacy group based in Montreal.

The IDG News Service has confirmed that the following companies have warned customers about the breach. Because Epsilon is often engaged by business units within these firms, not everyone who does business with these companies has had their e-mail address stolen. If you have received a notification from a company that is not included on this list, please contact robert_mcmillan@idg.com.

AbeBooks

Ameriprise Financial

Barclays Bank

Best Buy

Brookstone

Citibank

Disney Destinations

Hilton Worldwide

JP Morgan Chase

Kroger

Lacoste

Marriott International

McKinsey Quarterly

New York & Company

Robert Half

Target

Tivo

US Bank

Walgreens

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags marketingsecurityindustry verticalsinternetEpsilon Interactive

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?