eBay, the online auction house, has been the subject of what some are calling potentially the largest single security breach in history. Computer hackers broke into and removed data from the depository that secures the personal information of over 233 million worldwide eBay users. Identity theft on this massive scale puts the sanctity of online accounts everywhere into question
According to the Guardian, eBay claims that encrypted financial information was not accessed, but other, non-encrypted information like users names, dates of birth, email and home addresses were taken. eBay recently issued an alert to clients warning that the breach existed and that safety precautions must be taken. Among the precautions urged is that all users of the service change passwords to combat future cyber attack.
Cyber Security Experts Are Outraged
This latest revelation brought about admonishment by internet security experts and advocates. Skepticism abounds that financial information is indeed safe, despite eBay’s reassurances. Additionally, shock is being expressed that such a well established and sophisticated company could leave the sensitive personal information of its users unencrypted, so well organized and open to theft. eBay’s vast collection of user data had led some experts to call it the “golden goose” and a primary target for hackers.
However, in a statement, the company purports that there is “no evidence of the compromise resulting in unauthorized activity for eBay users, and no evidence of any unauthorized access to financial or credit card information.”
What Is the Risk After the Breach?
The worry circulating in the tech community is that information taken in the heist can be used to establish false online identities that could lead to fraudulent purchases or money transfers, or the ability of hackers to acquire more personal information from those already affected.
Furthermore, victims should be on the lookout for “phishing.” Phishing is a deceptive technique when cyber criminals approach unsuspecting people online and use the little information already gathered to lure victims to unsecured areas. Once the bait has been taken, hackers have the ability to take even more personal information or commit more fraud.
Numerous states, including Florida, are pursuing investigations into the data breach. So far the company has been tight-lipped about the theft and has not publicly explained how the crime was successfully carried out or if any particular parties are suspected of being the culprit. eBay did admit that the theft occurred sometime in February or March, but has not come forward to explain why it took so long after discovering the theft before users were warned.
Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi is looking into the matter, and has joined the chorus of those voicing their shock at the episode. She is quoted in the media saying “the magnitude of the reported eBay data breach could be of historic proportions.”
Protect Your Rights and Security Immediately
The impact of identity theft snowballs as stolen information is used to access more personal information or as a tool to cause financial damage. Every day spent without addressing the problem is another day that crooks can be disseminating private data to others in the underworld.