Hackers access user personal data stored by eBay

Users asked to change passwords as attackers compromise employee log-in credentials

EBay is asking users to change their passwords after attackers gained unauthorized access to eBay's corporate network, compromising a database containing encrypted passwords and other personal data.

The attackers compromised a "small number of employee log-in credentials" between late February and early March to gain access to the network, the company said in a statement Wednesday, adding that it only discovered the attack about two weeks ago.

After conducting extensive tests, eBay found no evidence the attack resulted in unauthorized activity for eBay users. Likewise, no evidence of any unauthorized access to financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats, was found, it added.

Data of eBay subsidiary PayPal wasn't compromised, eBay said, adding that PayPal data is stored separately on a secure network.

The eBay database contained customer names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth, but no financial or other confidential information, eBay said. There is no evidence of increased fraudulent account activity on eBay, it said.

Nevertheless it would be wise for users change their passwords, the company said. "Changing passwords is a best practice and will help enhance security for eBay users," eBay said, adding that it regrets any inconvenience or concern that the password reset may cause.

The company is working with law enforcement and leading security experts to investigate the matter, and said it is "applying the best forensics tools and practices to protect customers."

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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