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Governments Probe eBay After Data Breach
Governments Probe eBay After Data Breach

By Jennifer LeClaire
May 23, 2014 10:25AM

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The eBay data breach is another example of the fact that hackers can and will leverage any avenue to gain access to a company and its customers' data for financial gain. Employee login credentials would appear to be an obvious access point that companies like eBay would put an extremely heavy emphasis on protecting, yet the opposite is true,
 



eBay was under attack -- now it is under investigation. After admitting to a data breach earlier this week, the online auction giant is now under investigation by multiple government agencies.

On Tuesday, eBay asked users to change their passwords in the wake of a cyberattack that compromised one of its databases. Unfortunately, it was a database that included eBay customers' names, encrypted passwords, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.

At the root of the matter is employee log-in credentials, a small number of which eBay said cyberattackers breached to gain stealth access to its corporate network. Although eBay said there’s no evidence of unauthorized activity on user accounts or credit card information -- which they stressed was stored separately in encrypted formats -- government authorities are launching investigations of their own.

Governments Get Involved

According to Reuters, Illinois, Florida and Connecticut are leading a probe into the massive data breach and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking for free credit monitoring for everyone affected. eBay could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The magnitude of the reported eBay data breach could be of historic proportions, and my office is part of a group of other attorneys general in the country investigating the matter,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We must do everything in our power to protect consumers’ personal information, which is exactly why I worked with the Florida Legislature on the Florida Information Protection Act.”

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom watchdogs also expressing concern. BBC News is reporting that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is getting involved.

"There's millions of U.K. citizens affected by this, and we've been clear that we're monitoring it, but by taking the wrong action under the law now we risk invalidating any investigation," Christopher Graham, an ICO spokesman, told the BBC.

A Tipping Point of Awareness?

We asked Tom Smith, a vice president of Business Development & Strategy at CloudEntr, a division of the French identity management firm Gemalto, for more thoughts on the eBay breach. He told us it’s yet another example of the fact that hackers can and will leverage any avenue to gain access to a company and their customers' data for financial gain.

“Employee login credentials would appear to be an obvious access point that companies would put an extremely heavy emphasis on protecting, yet in fact, the opposite is true,” he said. “Many companies, such as eBay, provide high levels of security for customer access to their service but do little to secure employee access to the customer records they may have on file.”

From his view, both Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses need to take proactive action to limit access to sensitive corporate data and intellectual property that could bring an organization down with one breach.

“There is no point in having multiple locks on a door when you leave the window wide open for hackers,” he said. “ Hopefully the eBay breach will be a tipping point in awareness of the need for a best practice, dedicated security strategy that includes employees in the equation."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

M Jareaux:

Posted: 2014-06-13 @ 8:58am PT
I have concerns about the amount of information that Ebay has access to about its users that they are not even aware of. While trying to change my password (before breach was disclosed) I was asked to confirm my credit card number, the color of my vehicle (they knew the make), and other information that I NEVER provided to them. I don't really want anyone giving me info on my car type, knowing the types of things I buy on my credit card, etc unless I give them permission to do so. More info on how they get such info if we don't provide it, would be a good place to start.

Philip Cohen:

Posted: 2014-06-11 @ 3:57am PT
There's more than the data breach for government to probe at eBay ...

Rich Vernadeau:

Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 1:12pm PT
Now would be an excellent time for anyone who has suffered from eBay's malfeasance to Priority Mail or FAX your personal experiences of eBay and/or PayPal having treated you in ILLEGAL WAYS to the Attorneys General of Florida, Illinois, California, as all 3 are about to investigate eBay. Although the focus of these current investigations will be regarding eBay's mishandling of the hacking event, BRINGING TO THEIR ATTENTION EBAY'S OTHER ILLEGAL AREAS could expand the scope of the current investigations or trigger additional investigations of eBay. The mailing addresses for all 3 of these Attorneys General can be Googled. Yes, you can also email them or call their 800 numbers, but for something of this nature FAXES or traditional mail is the prefered method to get their attention.



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


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