April 06, 2011, 2:49 PM — Verizon Communications admitted yesterday that its customers were among the millions whose email addresses were stolen from databases at the Epsilon online-marketing-services company last week.
Verizon hasn't admitted the breach publicly, but did send an email to customers describing the problem, according to Reuters.
"Epsilon has assured us that the information exposed was limited to email addresses, and that no other information about you or your account was exposed," according to an email Verizon sent to customers late yesterday.
Verizon hasn't announced how many customers were affected or any other details, but the inclusion of the world's largest wireless provider expands the potential scope of the breach far beyond its already-large proportions.
Though Epsilon announcements said only email addresses were taken, it and its parent company do detailed tracking and response-analysis of email-marketing campaigns – data that could provide as much of an advantage to phishers as to legitimate marketers, should the tracking data escape through the same breach as the emails.
PCWorld offers 10 utilities to protect your data whether you've been compromised or not.
Since you're probably reading this at work and are likely as responsible for other people's online security as well as your own, I'll point out this Reuters piece outlining the way most companies respond when someone swipes the email addresses of their customers, or there is some other outrage involving customer emails. Typically, they apologize. Via email.