Massive Email Hacking Affects Loyalty Programs

Apr 4, 2011

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So far today, I’ve received emails from Hilton Honors, Best Buy Reward Zone and Chase notifying me that my email address and names were potentially stolen by hackers who breached the systems of their marketing vendor, Epsilon.

The emails stress that financial information was not stolen and that the only risk will be an increase in unsolicited emails. But will that be the only bad thing that comes out of this whole debacle? The skeptic in me thinks otherwise, but I’m not a cyber security or identify theft expert by any means, so I’m not sure exactly what to make of it. But, I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention, because this breach seems to be making national news; like this CNN piece.

Security Week lists the following companies as being affected by the breach; including Ritz Carlton Rewards, US Bank, Capital One, Citi, Marriott and Ameriprise.

Even if this does only result in some more unsolicited Viagra or discount pharmacy emails, it definitely exposes the fact that our information is not secure. As companies request more and more sensitive information from us to tailor our travel experiences, at what point will they take the necessary steps to make sure the information is secure? Is the benefit of storing information, like credit cards, worth it in the end?

I’m not sure, but I’m interested to hear all of your thoughts.

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