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Lush Cosmetics Site Needs Makeover Following Hack

Company pulls down website; experts wonder why it took so long to respond
A major breach at cosmetics company Lush earlier this week caused the company to pull down its website and notify customers of the potential threat of stolen credit card details.

The company temporarily replaced its site with a one-page notification about the compromise.

The company said "a number" of credit card details were stolen over a period of almost four months -- including the busy Christmas shopping season -- and that some have already been used to make fraudulent purchases. "Our website has been the victim of hackers," Lush said in its online statement. "Twenty-four hour security monitoring has shown us that we are still being targeted and there are continuing attempts to re-enter. We refuse to put our customers at risk of another entry -- so have decided to completely retire this version of our website.

"For complete ease of mind, we would like all customers that placed online orders with us between [Oct. 4] and [Jan. 20] to contact their banks for advice, as their card details may have been compromised," the statement said.

Lush has not revealed how the compromise occurred, though it did indicate only its United Kingdom site was affected. The company also posted a Muppets video encouraging customers to "turn their frown upside down," but customers on the company's Facebook page did not appear to be amused.

To the hackers, Lush wrote: "If you are reading this, our Web team would like to say that your talents are formidable. We would like to offer you a job -- were it not for the fact that your morals are clearly not compatible with ours or our customers.'"

A number of experts have asked why the company took so long to notify the public about a breach that began in October, but the company has not made a statement on those questions.

In his blog, security researcher Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro said customers should be tougher on their banks and credit card companies, and should insist on an option of a one-time credit card number for online shopping.

"One-time credit card numbers were introduced back in 2000 by AmEx, but have not been as widely adopted by consumers as I would have expected," Ferguson says. "Talk to your bank and find out what security they offer for online shopping." 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.

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