Extreme Disclosure? Not yet but a great trend!

Published: 2011-04-03
Last Updated: 2011-04-04 23:44:06 UTC
by Richard Porter (Version: 1)
27 comment(s)


        There is a trend in vigilant disclosure by some companies and service providers. A reader wrote in with a great example of an email disclosure. U.S. Bank informed it's customers of a breach in a partners system. It went on to disclose that the partner system had been accessed by unauthorized users and that customer email addresses had been exposed.

         What stuck out for myself and other handlers that commented, was the way the disclosure was handled. U.S. Bank then clearly identified it's information disclosure policy. They followed on to inform customers that at no time was financial data disclosed and that only Epsilon's systems had been accessed.

         If you have had any disclosures from vendors please send them in to us. Packets are better but we take disclosures as well!


Below is the email that was relayed.

As a valued U.S. Bank customer, we want to make you aware of a situation that has occurred related to your email address.

We have been informed by Epsilon Interactive, a vendor based in Dallas, Texas, that files containing your email address were accessed by unauthorized entry into their computer system. Epsilon helps us send you emails about products and services that may be of interest to you.

We want to assure you that U.S. Bank has never provided Epsilon with financial information about you. For your security, however, we wanted to call this matter to your attention. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails.

Please remember that U.S. Bank will never request information such as your personal ID, password, social security number, PIN or account number via email. For your safety, never share this or similar information in response to an email request at any time. To learn more about recognizing online fraud issues, visit:


In addition, if you receive any suspicious looking emails, please tell us immediately.

Call U.S. Bank Customer Service at 800-US-BANKS (800-872-2657).

The security of your information is important to us, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. As always, if you have any questions, or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Thanks to all of those that sent in their notifications. On the list so far: 

Best Buy, Home Depot, Chase, U.S. Bank, Robert Half, Disney Destinations, Citibank, Hilton Honors.  No doubt there will be more to come. 



Epsilon in their press release mentions that only email addresses and names have been compromised for approximately 2 percent of their clients.  A quick calculation shows that is at least 50 organisations (over 2500 clients).  So a few more of you may be getting notifications.


Richard Porter

--- ISC Handler on Duty 

Can be reached:

Twitter: packetalien

Email: richard at isc dot sans dot edu


27 comment(s)


www.databreaches.net - search the home page for Epsilon

I got three disclosures this weekend alone because of the Epsilon breach, the same company US Bank used. First it was SilverPop last December, then Epsilon last week and there are some rumblings that the TripAdvisor email address breach, which I also got, may have been from a third company that hasn't disclosed yet.
At last check (7:00PM CST, 4/3/11) this was the whole list for this breach. Lots of data compiled from krebsonsecurity.com, computerworld.com, securityweek.com, and the Cincinnati Business Courier.

U.S. Bank
New York & Co.
JP Morgan Chase
McKinsey Quarterly
Capital One
City Market
Fred Meyer
Marriott Rewards
Ritz Carlton
Smith Brands
Home Shopping Network
Jay C
Food 4 Less
King Snoopers
Disney Destinations
I got a notification from Robert Half International, Inc. (rhi.com), as well as one from USBank. RHI is an employment agency.
I'll forward it in.
Also, I had opted out of marketing emails from USBank, yet I was still in their marketing database :(
@BJ: It seems contradictory but they need to keep your email address in the database to know that you have opted out! Also, there are two kinds of opt-out: simple opt-out of marketing emails and full opt-out of all emails. With simple opt-out, they can override the opt-out for important news such as a product recall or data breach (as in this situation). With full opt-out, you will be placed on a "blacklist" that tells them never to send you emails under any circumstances. In both cases, however, they need to keep your email address on file so that they can do that check; if they remove it, they will not know that you have opted out.
Citibank is opting to place it's notification on the login page. Could be better. Chase has theirs behind a link on the main page. I used my bookmark to the login page, logged in, checked the message area, and logged out without seeing a mention of it. You have to look for it.
Would be nice to get Ben Wright's (instructor) opinion on the matter. Looks like some companies pulled the notification trigger quicker than others.
You can also add Best Buy Rewards Zone to the list.
@patermann, BJ
No they don't. that is the beauty of hashes. Like passwords, they can salt&hash your mailaddress, so they don't need to keep your info, but can still verify that you DO NOT want SPAM. Off course the spammers could do a bruteforce on it, but it would, at least, make their efforts more expensive and perhaps not worth it...
Just want to second nge's comment about hashes.
Hashes are your friend. Use them whenever possible.

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