ECS Learning Systems notifies 1,300 customers of database intrusion

ECS Learning Systems has notified the Vermont Attorney General’s Office that its customer database had been accessed, beginning in April 2010. The intruder(s) reportedly  gained access via the firm’s online ordering system.

According to their letter, ECS became aware of the intrusion on October 15, and their investigation revealed that 1300 customers’ information may have been compromised.  Personal information in the database included names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses,  and/or credit card or debit card information.

As a result of the incident, ECS deleted all card information from its server and made arrangements for a card processor to handle future transactions so that no card information is stored on their system.

ECS did not offer those affected any free services.  And unfortunately,  in my opinion, they did not give them strong and unequivocal advice to immediately cancel their cards,  either.  In an FAQ they sent to those affected, they wrote:

Should I change my credit card or debit card number?

Answer: You should review your bank account and credit card account activity carefully. Even if you do not find any unusual activity, you may want to contact your bank (for debit cards) or your credit card issuing bank (for credit cards) to obtain their advice regarding changing your debit card or credit card number as a precaution.

C’mon folks, why punt on that one? Tell folks straight out to cancel their cards. If they don’t, then months in the future, when they’ve stopped checking their accounts carefully, the card may be used.

Update Nov. 17: Link to letter on VT AG site corrected. Thanks to ITRC for pointing out my error.

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