How to avoid future Epsilon breach email phishing scams

Scam Truck (Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier@Flickr)

Updated: Last week's news that marketing outsourcer Epsilon leaked a huge cache of names and email addresses has certainly caused a commotion. It's not the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last. So how can you avoid being taken in by email scams targeting you, courtesy of the Epsilon breach? And how can you protect your users? Here are some tips, in The Long View...

It seems inevitable that those email addresses will be misused by scammers. People are -- quite reasonably -- worried that the information leaked from Epsilon will enable targeted email phishing attacks. The web is awash with advice about how to spot these phishing messages. But some of the advice -- although well-meaning -- isn't really practical, and much of it basically misses the point. We can do better. Read on... As Darlene Storm noted yesterday, her hyperbole engine cranked up to 11:

The Epsilon hack may be the largest name and email address breach in the history of the Internet. ... The scope of major corporations affected is somewhat mind-boggling. ... This may be the outsourcing hack from hell.
...
There will be countless people duped by phishing attacks. ... Be on the lookout for spear phishing campaigns and don't nibble on them.

Epsilon's press release tries to minimize the damage to its brand by saying that the number of leaked user records was, "approximately 2 percent of total clients." Of course, we don't know how many email recipients Epsilon has in its database, so that's a fairly meaningless statistic.

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