Epsilon Email Breach Affects Banks, Stores: Should You Be Concerned?

BlogHer Original Post

Best Buy - West ThurrockIf you have an email address and have shared it with your bank, your grocery store, your favorite drug store chain or any number of other companies, you may be at risk for some future phishing attempts. Over the weekend, hackers made their way into a Dallas-based company called Epsilon that manages email communications and now Epsilon is warning customers to watch for fraudulent emails asking for login information.

It should be stated, first and foremost, that the hackers did not get customers' passwords -- just their email addresses. However, the range of companies that were breached is wide and varied, which is why it affects more than the Gawker breach last December.

Among the affected companies are banks like Capital One Financial Corp., Barclays Bank, U.S. Bancorp and Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and retailers like Best Buy Co., TiVo Inc., Walgreen Co. and Kroger Co.

The College Board, the not-for-profit organization that runs the SATs, also warned that a hacker may have obtained student email addresses.

Walt Disney Co.'s travel subsidiary, Disney Destinations, sent emails warning customers on Sunday.

This breach doesn't just affect commenters on one site. This affects customers of multiple banks, multiple stores and, unfortunately, high school students. While you may be well-versed in spam and phishing attempts, now would be a good time to talk to the teens in your household and make sure they never share their login information even if an email looks official.

And just in case you're feeling kind of freaked out about the whole breach, go ahead and change your password to something hackers would never guess. While the hackers only got your email address and not your passwords, it's still safer to have an unguessable password. Use this news story to hack-proof your accounts!

Do you have accounts with any of the affected companies? Did you receive any emails informing you of the breach?

Contributing Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and photographer.

Photo Credit: roblawton.

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