Identity Theft

Epsilon Chief Plays Down Massive Data Breach

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The head of the company that exposed millions of consumers’ emails to hackers told investment analysts that the data breach is unlikely to hurt business. Ed Heffernan, CEO of Alliance Data Systems Corp., which owns Epsilon, said in a conference call that fallout from the breach should be minimal.

“Email volumes have largely remained at expected run rates,” Heffernan said, according to a story by ComputerWorld.

In late March, someone broke into Epsilon’s computer system and stole millions of names and email addresses, the company reported in a press release. Epsilon, which handles emails for Chase bank, Citibank, Capital One, Walgreens, Kroger, Best Buy, Verizon, the Home Shopping Network, and dozens of other major retailers, sends more than 3 billion emails a month, SecurityWeek reports. (For a more complete list of retailers, see’s coverage.)

[Fraud Resource: Free Identity Risk Score and personal risk profile]

Even though the hackers apparently accessed millions of email addresses, it represents just 2% of Epsilon’s client base, Heffernan said in his call with analysts.

As a result of the breach, Epsilon has started adding layers of computer security to “build Fort Knox” around its email operations, Heffernan said. In a press release, Heffernan was more contrite.

“We fully recognize the impact this has had on our clients and their customers, and on behalf of the entire Alliance Data organization, we sincerely apologize,” Heffernan said in the release.

[Related Article: The Epsilon Breach: Don’t Take the Bait with Phishing Scams]

Image: Damiaan, via Flickr

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