Data thieves target e-mail addresses

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In the past four months, caches of customer e-mail addresses, not banking and credit card information, have become the key target of data thieves. The goal: Use the legitimate e-mail addresses and the specific companies their owners have business relationships with to get people to buy worthless goods or to infect their PCs.

The recent theft of potentially tens of millions of consumer e-mail addresses from online marketing firm Epsilon followed a spate of similar hacks in December. Web marketing and cybersecurity experts say there are several ways cybercriminals can make profitable use of the stolen e-mail addresses. Just like legit advertisers, criminals can correlate a person’s demographics and shopping patterns “and use that to their advantage,” says Thomas Jelneck, president of Internet marketing firm On Target Web Solutions.


Data thieves target e-mail addresses