Acxiom Hacked, Customer Information Exposed

Acxiom , one of the world’s largest specialists in
customer and information management, confirmed Friday that it had been
hacked, and that information about some customers of its clients was

“An individual, who was a former employee of an Acxiom client, was arrested
in conjunction with this incident,” the company said in a statement Friday.
“According to law enforcement, the individual arrested was a known
sophisticated hacker. He evidentially gained access through hacking of
encrypted passwords.”

The Little Rock, Ark.-based firm said the stolen information was retrieved.
“Law enforcement has notified Acxiom that they do not believe that any of
the data has been released to other parties or used for fraudulent
purposes,” the company said.

The breach involved one external FTP server outside Acxiom’s firewall that
is used to transfer files back and forth between Acxiom and its clients.
The company said no internal databases were accessed and no breach
penetrated its firewall. Additionally, the firm said only a small
percentage of its clients’ data was involved in the incident.

Acxiom’s client list includes a number of Fortune 500 companies, like
Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, and Blockbuster. The company says it services 14 of
the top 15 credit card companies, 7 of the top 10 auto makers, 7 of the top
10 media entertainment companies, 6 of the top 10 magazine publishing
companies, 4 of the top 5 telecom companies, 5 of the top 6 retail banks
and 3 of the top 5 retailers.

Acxiom, which prides itself as a leader on consumer privacy issues, said
this is the first such incident that it ha experienced, adding that it
immediately changed all passwords to the FTP server involved. The company
said it is in the process of communicating with all clients potentially
affected by the breach.

“Acxiom is proud of its longstanding commitment to the security of our
systems and our efforts toward continuous improvements in that area, so we
deeply regret this breach,” Acxiom Company Leader Charles D. Morgan said in
a statement. “In recent years, Acxiom has conducted extensive internal
security audits, and we have been subject to multiple external audits
performed by clients, vendors and others. Our already high standards will
be set even higher, and we have begun a comprehensive review of our systems
and procedures, with the help of nationally renowned security experts, to
guard against similar incidents in the future.”

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