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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:10

ACCC says sorry for hack


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued an apology to its email subscribers after it inadvertently published their email addresses and made them publicly available last week.

The watchdog's CIO Adrian Walkden has issued an apology to subscribers of ACCC email lists, but clarified the likelihood the emails were stolen was low.

"They were not indexed by search engines or linked from a web page on our sites. They could only be found if specific URLs were tried," said an email signed by Walkden and sent to subscribers of the affected services today.

"The ACCC resolved this issue as soon as it became of aware of it," the email states.

"As you have subscribed to an alert on one of the affected websites, we are informing you that your email address may have been publicly available from our website if an intentional attempt was made to access it."

The email did warm that the leaked subscriber list may have been exploited, though the leak seems unrelated to the recent Heartbleed developments.

"Scammers may send emails purporting to be from the ACCC in attempts to gain personal or financial information," the email stated.

"If you have any doubts about an email's source, verify the sender by independent means - use their official contact details to check the email is legitimate before clicking on links or opening attachments."

Last week the watchdog organisation said it was "not clear" how many users were affected by the privacy breach.

The ACCC reported the issue to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). "The OAIC is considering this information to determine if any further action is required," an OAIC spokesperson said last week.

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