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Verizon data breach exposes customer emails

Verizon Communications has confessed that it too was a victim of a large-scale attack last week, resulting in a major data breach that exposed the email addresses of many of its customers.

Hackers targeted around 50 major companies, ranging from banks to hotels, by attacking the email databases of online marketer Epsilon, which manages email newsletters for a multitude of companies.

Verizon revealed that it was one of the many companies whose customer details were exposed. It sent out an email to all customers on Tuesday reassuring them that only email addresses were taken and that other account information remains secure.

Email address may seem like the least valuable customer information hackers can get their hands on, but there is a growing black market for the sale of email addresses, which then get flooded with spam, scams and malware. If even a tiny fraction of these messages result in unwitting consumers buying non-existent products or installing viruses on their machines it brings in a massive fortune for hackers.

The attack was labeled as potentially "one of the biggest ... in US history" by Reuters. Other big names affected including Marks and SpencerTarget, Marriott Rewards, Best Buy, the Home Shopping Network, Capital One, Brookstone, Walgreens, Disney Destinations, TiVo, US Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

Thinq_ contacted Verizon for more information on the data breach and we are awaiting a response.