500,000 e-mail addresses and passwords acquired: Adidas websites go offline after security breach (UPDATED)

Last night, a regular reader of this blog contacted me about the Adidas breach.  I told him, and repeat now, that it’s not clear whether any personal information was involved, which is why I held off on posting anything about.  As of this morning, the company doesn’t think personal data has been accessed or acquired, but admits it can’t be sure. Lawrence Leff reports:

Adidas said it became aware of a “sophisticated, criminal cyber-attack” on its various web sites on 3 November but the firm claimed it found no evidence that customers’ data had been stolen. Instead, Adidas said it took the web sites offline to protect its users.

Adidas issued a statement saying that it took the websites affected – adidas.com, reebok.com, micoach.com, adidas-group.com and various Ecommerce shops – offline as it undertakes a “thorough forensic review”.

Since Adidas uncovered the attack, it claims to have put in place additional security measures. The firm added, “nothing is more important to us than the privacy and security of our consumers’ personal data”.

While Adidas said that its preliminary investigation did not find any evidence of a data breach, that still leaves open the possibility that the attackers were simply better than average at covering their tracks. Adidas’ customers who have personal information stored on the firm’s servers will be eager to know what happened.

This is what happens when companies feel pressure to inform their users or customers promptly.  People want to know what’s going on, but sometimes, it does take time to complete forensics and find out what happened or what its scope was.

Adidas did the right thing by taking its sites offline.  They did the right thing by communicating with their customers to share what they know so far.  But will customers appreciate that or will they blame Adidas for not having a definitive answer immediately?  I hope it’s the former.

 Update:  Hackers claim to have acquired and dumped 500,000 e-mail addresses and clear-text passwords.  Over 700 were posted on Pastebin and the entire file is reportedly available on a filesharing site but I haven’t downloaded the archive to confirm it.

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