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Zappos database hit by cyberattack

Online shoe retailer says personal information may have been hacked and urges customers to change passwords

Hackers have struck Zappos, the online shoe retailer, putting at risk the sensitive information from its database of 24 million customers.

Credit card information had not been stolen, Zappos chief executive Tony Hsieh said in a statement, but names, email addresses and other personal information may have been exposed.

Zappos, which started out as an online shoe retailer but now sells clothing and accessories, was sold to Amazon for more than bn (£650m) in 2009.

In an email to staff sent on Sunday and posted on the company website, Hsieh wrote: “We were recently the victim of a cyber-attack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky. We are co-operating with law enforcement to undergo an exhaustive investigation.”

Zappos has contacted customers asking them to choose new passwords for and other sites where they may have used the same or a similar password.

Hsieh added: “We’ve spent over 12 years building our reputation, brand, and trust with our customers. It’s painful to see us take so many steps back due to a single incident.”

The news came on the same day that the San Francisco Chronicle reported that personal banking information and other information had been stolen from tens of thousands of students, faculty and administrators at City College of San Francisco following a deacade-long “infestation” of computer viruses tied to criminal networks in Russia, China and other countries.

Ira Victor, a computer forensics and information analyst with Data Clone Labs, said it was still too early to assess the fallout of the Zappos attack. Victor said research had shown the vast majority of people used the same password, or similar ones, for multiple sites.

“If you get into a database of 24m accounts, you are going to get information that you can potentially use to access private emails, bank accounts, corporate accounts – a treasure trove of escalating attacks,” he said.

The Zappos hack comes after huge security breaches at Sony and online security giant RSA SecureID last year. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds