Tech wrap: Zappos hacked

January 16, 2012

Online shoe retailer Zappos told customers this weekend that it has been the victim of a cyber attack affecting more than 24 million customer accounts in its database. The popular retailer, which is owned by Amazon.com, said customers’ names, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of credit card numbers and scrambled passwords were stolen. The company, which is well known for its customer service, said due to the high volume of customer calls it is expecting it will temporarily switch off its phones and direct customers to contact via email.

Hackers disrupted online access to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Airlines and three banks in what the government described as a cyber-offensive against Israel. The attacks came just days after an unidentified hacker, proclaiming Palestinian sympathies, posted the details of thousands of Israeli credit card holders and other personal information on the Internet in a mass theft. Israel opened an agency to tackle cyber attacks earlier this month.

A hacker who goes by the name of “Yama Tough” threatened Saturday to release the full source code for Symantec’s flagship Norton Antivirus software on Tuesday. Last week, Yama Tough released fragments of source code from Symantec products along with a cache of emails. The hacker said all the data was taken from Indian government servers.

Use of microblogging in China quadrupled in 2011 compared with the previous year, with nearly half of all Chinese Internet users now taking to the near-instant service to gather news and spread views, a government Internet think tank said. Microblogging, or “Weibo” as it is known in China, allows users to send short messages of 140 characters or less to their followers. The total number of Weibo users rose 296 percent to 249.9 million in 2011, data from the China Internet Network Information Center showed.

The long-term approach of major Japanese investors, combined with an aversion to foreign and hostile takeovers and uncertainty over lawsuits stemming from the $1.7 billion accounting scandal, will likely make any change of ownership at Olympus a gradual process, writes Isabel Reynolds. Olympus is expected to stay listed for the time being and sources with the company’s powerful main bankers, who are also shareholders, say they would be prepared to wait for the firm to recover on its own.

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Zappos is giving everyone a lesson on managing a data breach that everyone who may ever have to deal with the problem should look to for guidance. There is a lot to be learned. People understand that such things happen and, unless you’ve been egregiously lax in protecting their account information, will give you the benefit of the doubt. How you respond to the crisis will be what determines whether or not the issue is resolved with minimal damage or it deteriorates into a PR disaster.

As I said, Zappos is giving us a real-time lesson on how to do crisis management properly and we should all be taking notes. For a more detailed analysis: http://blog.unibulmerchantservices.com/z appos-is-giving-us-a-lesson-on-managing- a-data-breach

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