Earlier this month, high profile technical company Epsilon, who counts Barclays, U.S. Bancorp, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup as clients, fell victim to computer hackers in what Reuters is speculating in the biggest hack in U.S. History after millions of credit card users’ personal details have been compromised.
Epsilon confirmed that their database has been hacked and that consumers’ names and email addresses have been compromised. Epsilon is now warning the general public to be extra vigilant of targeted junk mail and phishing schemes.
Consumers must be especially aware of targeted spam email, which will address them personally and often ask for login information.
Companies will never ask for personal logins or other information via email, so any communications asking for such information, should be reported to the company they claim to represent in order to confirm the validity of the email message.
In addition to the millions of credit card holders affected, the College Board, which handles the SAT database, and many retailers including Best Buy, Walgreen’s, and Disney Destinations have also been affected by the security breach.
Epsilon sends out over 40 billion emails each year for their 2,500 plus clients. In addition to representing various major credit card companies, they also manage email communication for various government departments including U.S Department of Defence, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and Department of Homeland Security. Jessica Simon, a spokeswoman for Epsilon, said:
While we are cooperating with authorities and doing a thorough investigation, we cannot say anything else. We can’t confirm any impacted or non-impacted clients, or provide a list of companies at this point in time.
Security experts have stated that consumers can take several steps to safeguard their personal details following the Epsilon security breach. The first piece of advice is that when receiving unsolicited email, do not immediately click on links within the message or open any attachments. The link could point to a website which can infect your computer, or the attachment may download keystroke tracking software which can save everything you type, including security passwords.
If the email offers a special deal or discount, visit the provider in a separate browser window and see if their website offers a similar deal. You should also check if the sender’s email address matches the domain name of the company they claim to represent. It is also advisable to keep all security software up to date.
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