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By John Leyden
31st December 2010
Honda US has written to customers following a data breach that led to
the exposure of million of customer records.
Hackers made off with a database containing names, email addresses, and
Vehicle Identification Numbers (the unique ID for cars) of 2.2 million
Honda customers following an attack on an unnamed third-party marketing
outfit. The breach creates a mechanism for miscreants to distribute
convincing phishing emails, perhaps posing as "special offers", and
designed to hoodwink victims into disclosing more sensitive private
Honda has contacted affected customers to warn them of the risk, as well
as publishing an FAQ on the breach. Criminal hackers also swiped a list
containing email address records of 2.7 million drivers of Honda's
luxury Acura car. Vehicle information was not attached to that list, a
factor that means it only poses a lesser risk, mainly from the
possibility of increased spamming against exposed email accounts.
Net security firm Sophos notes that the incident illustrates how the
security reputation of household brands can be damaged by security
faux-pas from its partners. "It may not be your company who is directly
hacked, but it can still be your customers' data that ends up exposed,
and your brand name that is tarnished," Sophos notes.
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