Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zappos breach goes beyond credit cards: Consumers face identity theft if hackers correlate other penetrated databases

Date:
January 18, 2012
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
An expert comments on the Zappos web site breach by hackers. He said that information about a customer can be used to 'de-anonymize' other databases on other Web sites, further invading customer privacy.

Stephen B. Wicker, Cornell professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University, comments on the Zappos web site breach by hackers.

Related Articles


Wicker conducts research in wireless information networks. He focuses on networking technology, law, and sociology, and how regulation can affect the privacy and speech rights. He is the author of the book "Cellular Convergence and the Death of Privacy," to be published by Oxford University Press at the end of 2012.

He says: "Though Zappos has not stated how security was breached, this event is a reminder that security is not a fix or an overlay, it is an ongoing process that must be intrinsic to the design and maintenance of an Internet presence.

"Zappos said that credit card information was not stolen, but acknowledged that email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, and the last four digits from credit cards may have been compromised. This is a lopsided outcome for the customer.

"The bigger problem Zappos faces is that large databases of consumer information can be used for identity theft. As Zappos acknowledged, users who use the same or similar passwords are at risk of theft through access to other sites such as Amazon or Ebay.

"More generally, information about a customer can be used to 'de-anonymize' other databases on other Web sites, further invading customer privacy. Correlation attacks enabled by such data have been shown to strip anonymity from NetFlix, AOL and other databases that were assumed safe. Thus, the information used can include customer preferences, beliefs and practices that are far harder to change than a credit card number.

"Zappos' response is admirable for its forthrightness and immediacy, but this is a reminder of the risk run when online service providers maintain databases of user data. This is a practice that many, many web site and service providers engage in for convenience and, in some cases, for profit. This is a practice that a networked society cannot afford for the long term if individual privacy is to be preserved."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Zappos breach goes beyond credit cards: Consumers face identity theft if hackers correlate other penetrated databases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118122829.htm>.
Cornell University. (2012, January 18). Zappos breach goes beyond credit cards: Consumers face identity theft if hackers correlate other penetrated databases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118122829.htm
Cornell University. "Zappos breach goes beyond credit cards: Consumers face identity theft if hackers correlate other penetrated databases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118122829.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

China's "Great Firewall" Frustrates Internet Users

China's "Great Firewall" Frustrates Internet Users

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 31, 2015) The Chinese government moves to tighten regulations for virtual private network (VPN) services that are used to access websites and services normally blocked in China. That&apos;s affected many internet users in the country. Yiming Woo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Forced To Obey Law, Changes U.K. Privacy Policy

Google Forced To Obey Law, Changes U.K. Privacy Policy

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) Google has agreed to make its privacy policy more transparent in compliance with a U.K. law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Newsweek's Tech Sexism Story: More Than Just A Cover

Newsweek's Tech Sexism Story: More Than Just A Cover

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Some objected to the art for Newsweek&apos;s cover story "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women," but it&apos;s achieved one mission: getting people talking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Consumers Should Be Vigilant in Wake of Zappos Cyberattack

Jan. 18, 2012 As an estimated 24 million Zappos.com customers begin receiving notifications that some of their personal data have been compromised, an expert is warning those affected to be on the lookout for ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins