Mammoth email service hacked

In what might be one of the largest breaches of personal data in the internet’s history, the email addresses of countless customers have fallen into the hands of spammers.

Epsilon is a legitimate marketing outfit, which sends out emails to databases supplied by a large number of international companies.

The outfit said that on March 30 a security incident was detected where its extensive email system was hacked. The information that was obtained was limited to email addresses and customer names only. Epsilon claimed that a rigorous assessment decided that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk, however it was still investigating.

A company spokesman warned that people should not open email from senders they do not know and not to trust emails from its customers that asked for personal information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.

Among the customers hacked was Kroger. which is the US’s largest traditional grocery retailer and employs more than 338,000 associates with stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. Potentially anyone who has given their email to any of these places could have had their data half inched.

Meanwhile Epsilon’s other customers have been sending out email to their customers warning them to be careful.

ABE, which runs one of the largest second-hand book databases in the world, has written to all its customers telling them that its accounts had been hacked.  Other customers are expected to follow suit.