Black Friday bruise: Amazon technical error discloses email addresses, customer names

Amazon’s timing couldn’t be worse, coming just ahead of Black Friday. But the e-commerce titan did admit that it inadvertently disclosed email addresses and names of some customers due to a technical error, and sent emails to those customers out of an abundance of caution.

Even so, Amazon insists that there was no data breach of its website or computer systems. 

In a statement supplied to USA TODAY via email, a company spokesperson said, “We have fixed the issue and informed customers who may have been impacted.”

Such customers were told that they did not have to change their email passwords or take any other steps.

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Amazon didn’t reveal just how many people may have been affected.

Though Amazon set out to reassure the legions of shoppers who will descend on its sites over the holidays, the episode did set off alarm bells with Andy Norton, director of threat intelligence at an artificial intelligence-powered network security provider named Lastline. 

“Amazon should advise (customers) to take extra care and diligence in opening their mail, and should highlight the risks of being phished,” Norton said in an emailed statement. “The fact that they are stating ‘the affected parties’ (in the note sent to by the company to customers) suggests that the data was indeed leaked to a known entity that has been contained.”

Norton added that ahead of the holiday shopping rush, “it is creating confusion and uneasiness, and creating more questions than answers, when it should have done the opposite.”

For gift ideas and dates on deals, check out gifts.usatoday.com

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

 

 

 

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