On Aug. 18, Eddie Bauer announced its retail system had been breached by malware, and customers’ credit card information had been accessed. The breach occurred over a six-month period, Jan. 2 to Jul. 17 of 2016, and has been addressed by the company. Upon discovering the breach, Eddie Bauer initiated an investigation that now includes the FBI and third-party digital forensic experts. They also announced that not all customers were affected by the breach, so whose information did it actually affect?
If you shopped online with Eddie Bauer recently or during that six months, you’re fine. If you shopped in store, however, in the US or Canada, you should definitely get in touch with your bank, check your credit card statements and watch for mail from Eddie Bauer as part of their investigation. Eddie Bauer is also offering 12 months of free identity protection services from Kroll to anyone affected by the incident (call 1-855-294-2549 for information on this).
What is Eddie Bauer doing to stop this from happening again? In a statement from CEO Mike Egeck:
We want to assure you that we have fully identified and contained this incident. . . . We are conducting a comprehensive review of our IT systems to incorporate recommended security measures in order to strengthen them and prevent this from happening again. We have been working closely with payment card organizations and customers will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges to their accounts. We also have been working with the FBI to identify the perpetrators and provide whatever cooperation is necessary to hold them accountable.
Our advice? Don’t panic, check your statements and take advantage of the identity protection if you were affected. In an increasingly digital world, these things are going to happen while companies and individuals iron out the intricacies of cyber security. If you store any kind of information in a virtual space, there is a risk someone is going to go after it, especially if it’s valuable, like credit card info or bank accounts. Always monitor your banking activity and utilize security features your bank has in place for just such incidents as these.
Keep calm and shop on.