Attacks/Breaches
5/2/2013
07:59 PM
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Reputation.com Suffers Breach, Changes Customer Passwords

Some customer information exposed, including salted and hashed passwords from 'a minority' of customers

Reputation.com, a company that helps protect people's online reputations, alerted its customers this week that it had been hacked. Attackers grabbed customer names, email addresses, mailing addresses, as well as some birthdates and employment information.

No financial, credit card, or customer account details were exposed, but the firm says a list of salted and hashed passwords of "a minority" of its customers also were stolen in the attack. "Although it was highly unlikely that these passwords could ever be decrypted, we immediately changed the password of every user to prevent any possible unauthorized account access," the firm wrote in an email to its customers.

A Reputation.com spokesperson told Dark Reading that the company has hired third-party security experts to review the firm's security and to help it beef up its security. "Both law enforcement and third party private investigations are underway as to whether this breach is part of a larger effort affecting other companies around the world, but the results of those investigations are pending. Our primary focus at this current point in time is working with our customers to provide reassurance and credit monitoring for those affected, out of an abundance of caution, and answer their questions," the spokesperson said.

The company got kudos from security experts for alerting customers of the breach with such detail even though it wasn't required to do so under state law in its location in North Dakota. "Reputation.com's contract is with the user, not with the state. Following the 'letter of the law' in a password breach underserves your userbase. Legislation around data privacy is spotty. By going beyond the required transparency and contacting everyone, the company not only protected themselves, but started on the path of rebuilding trust with their users," authentication firm Stormpath wrote in a blog post.

Stormpath notes that there still could be a ripple effect of the attack on Reputation's customers who re-use passwords on other sites. "Given that passwords are often used for multiple websites and that personal information like email, occupation, and address was also accessed, they may be downplaying the follow-on effect of losing those credentials," Stormpath says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/3/2013 | 9:26:47 PM
re: Reputation.com Suffers Breach, Changes Customer Passwords
Reputation.com hires security experts after its customers passwords have been stolen. Good for them, but it's taken a blow to its reputation from which it will be hard to recover. We're not likely to seek to protect our reputations through someone who can't protect our account passwords. Charlie Babcock, editor at large, InformationWeek
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