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Hackers Breached eBay

In months following the data breach of Target in December of last year, eBay has confirmed that it was the victim of a Shanghai based hacker attack and breached three months ago. The company has said that some 145 million user records were accessed and compromised which is poised to be the second largest data breaches in history. The biggest data breach according to computer security experts was in October of 2013 when software manufacturer Adobe Systems was breached. Hackers accessed roughly 152 million user accounts. While eBay is only slightly behind that number, the threat is no less severe.

The BreacheBay 1

EBay has stated that the breach of their corporate network occurred when hackers gained access credentials of a number of employees who had access to the corporate network. The breach was discovered earlier this month and the company immediately called in law enforcement and security experts to investigate the breached network. Many files that were discovered to be compromised were seen to be copied by the hackers and the company instructed its users to change all of their passwords and be on the lookout for any sort of fraud on their accounts. While eBay has yet to find any sort of red flags or fraudulent activity on its site currently, the company is still on high alert. According to eBay the hackers gained access to personal information, user passwords, names and mailing addresses but not any financial records. A deeper investigation of PayPal the service that handles the monetary transactions for the site was conducted and deemed safe and untouched.

The breach was first discovered by eBay in early May and the company has been aggressively investigating the true depth at which the hackers were able to penetrate. This is, according to company spokesmen the reason that the company had not immediately notified its users of the breach. Due to the ongoing investigation and the internal measures of securing the network, eBay has worked tirelessly to fix any gaps in security that may have been left open by the initial breach.

Severity of the Breach

Originally it was thought that the entire database of eBay had been breached and copied, however the company has confirmed that only a large portion of the database was copied. In December of last year, Target revealed that 40 million credit card numbers and 70 million customer records had been breached and stolen by a hacker attack on the company. As stated above this might be the second largest data breach in history right behind Adobe Systems. The hacking has so far been traced to s Shanghai based group leading experts to believe that this type of data breach is under the authority of the Peoples Liberation Army of China, and not some independent hacker group. Currently the company has stated that no customer financial records have been breached but that customers should still be on the lookout over the coming weeks to be absolutely sure. While eBay has confirmed that a large number of user accounts have been totally compromised, they declined on revealing a solid number.

Protecting One’s IdentityeBay

Many security experts and agencies for years have been instructing people to use different passwords for every online account. The issue when using just one or two passwords is when an account is breached and those passwords are stolen and in turn used to breach other accounts. The company has since advised their customers to change all of their passwords as a precaution to stop any sort of fraudulent activity that may occur. However, eBay has also laid claim to the idea that the encryption code that scrambles passwords and their linkage to the eBay network hadn’t been breached so there was no way that the hackers could openly go in and out of the eBay network. According to eBay, the hackers were able to obtain customer’s personal information including birthdates, addresses both physical and email addresses, but were unable to get financial data such as banking information or credit card numbers.

EBay is not the first nor will it be the last of the giant corporations to be breached according to experts. If in fact the Peoples Liberation Army is behind the cyber attacks and data breaching, it will only add the tension that has been growing between the U.S. and China due in part by the lag in the global economy. U.S. defense experts have stated in recent months that China which has been engaging in currency manipulation has also been engaging in a major military buildup. What is most unsettling is that in an effort to distract the U.S. it is possible that the hacking might be occurring in order to disrupt any U.S. military reaction to the current weapons and force buildup. One thing is certain, the breach that occurred in eBay is sure to be replicated in the near future.



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