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Egghead Hacked and Cracked

By Lori Enos
Dec 22, 2000 12:32 PM PT

Computer products e-tailer Egghead.com (Nasdaq: EGGS) said Friday that a hacker has breached its computer systems and may have gained access to its customer database.

Egghead Hacked and Cracked

The company added that it has retained the "world's leading computer security experts" to investigate the breach and analyze its security measures.

The Menlo Park, California-based e-tailer did not say how or when it discovered the breach, but did say that it had been in the process of strengthening its security systems for several months in an effort to "combat the increasing, industry-wide problem of malicious hacking."

As a precautionary measure, Egghead said "immediate steps" were taken to protect customers by contacting the credit card companies it does business with.

The company added that the credit card companies "are in the process of alerting card issuers and banks so that they can take the necessary steps to ensure the security of cardholders who may be affected."

Also, law enforcement officials are pursuing a criminal investigation, according to Egghead.com.

Credit Card Heist

The news of a hack attack at Egghead.com comes a week after Los Angeles-based merchant processing firm Creditcards.com confirmed that its security was compromised when 55,000 credit card numbers were posted on the Web.

According to published reports, the alleged hacker stole the database several months ago, and had reportedly been trying to blackmail the company ever since.

The FBI has been investigating the incident, including claims that mysterious charges of US$10 to $18 have been made on some of the cards by a Moscow-based firm.

Hacker Highlights

Despite the best efforts of online security companies, a number of high profile hackings have compromised both the finances and confidence of online shoppers in the past year.

Two weeks ago, Charles Schwab said a flaw in its system left open the potential for a hacker to steal individual customers' stock trading accounts. A month earlier, another online brokerage firm, E*Trade, indicated that a similar weakness in its system had been discovered in September.

In both instances, customers passwords and bank account numbers became vulnerable to hackers.

Still a Threat?

In another high profile blunder, in November a technical glitch at Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank, exposed the secret Swiss bank account numbers, private addresses, and money transfer details of hundreds of people -- including former James Bond actor Roger Moore.

Earlier this month, the FBI warned e-tailers of "an increase in hacker activity targeting U.S. systems associated with e-commerce and other Internet-hosted sites."


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