Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Millions of Honda Owners Victims of Yet Another Data Breach

Carmaker Honda is warning more than two million of its customers in the U.S. that an email database containing some of their personal information has been stolen.

It’s not yet 100 percent clear if this breach is connected to the recent breach of the email marketing firm Silverpop Systems, but it sure looks that way. Honda was an enthusiastic Silverpop customer as recently as 2009, according to this press release. It’s the same company whose data was breached in thefts of customer data from McDonald’s and deviantArt. A similar incident was reported concerning the drugstore chain Walgreen’s, but it hasn’t been tied specifically to Silverpop.

The list contained the names, login names, email addresses and–get this–vehicle identification numbers of more than two million Honda owners. Another list, this one containing only the email addresses of nearly three million Acura owners, was also taken.

Honda has contacted all the customers via email. The worry is that affected owners, especially those on the list with the VINs, may be targeted for some kind of phishing attack. Imagine getting an email from someone pretending to be your local Honda dealer who correctly identifies the car you just bought and asks you to give up more personal information so that you can get “special offers.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik