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Massive Adobe Breach: What You Need to Know

Christine DiGangi

Computer software company Adobe Systems announced last week that it had experienced a massive data breach, and attackers gained access to 2.9 million customer accounts. Adobe’s website says the breach is under investigation.

“At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems. We are also investigating the illegal access to source code of numerous Adobe products. Based on our findings to date, we are not aware of any specific increased risk to customers as a result of this incident,” an Adobe spokesperson said.

Customer names, encrypted passwords and encrypted debit and credit card information were among the data accessed. The company has reset the passwords of affected accounts and is sending email instructions on how to change passwords. Adobe also recommended those customers update any accounts that used the same password.

Adobe’s software includes the widely used Acrobat, Flash and Creative Cloud, and while 2.9 million seems like a high number, it is unclear how many accounts the company has. In addition to the customer information, attackers accessed software source code, which could be used to create counterfeit versions of Adobe’s programs.

The software’s popularity makes it a target for cyberattacks, said Chief Security Officer Brad Arkin in a blog post announcing the breach. In addition to Arkin’s post, the company set up a frequently asked questions page, which recommends customers monitor their bank accounts for fraudulent activity.

For U.S. customers who experience fraudulent use of their information, the company instructs them to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. However, due to the government shutdown, the FTC website is unavailable, and such complaints cannot be made.

Additionally, U.S. customers whose credit or debit card information was involved in the data breach will be offered a complimentary one-year credit or debit card monitoring program.

Cybercrimes are increasingly common and expensive, costing the U.S. $38 million in the past 12 months. In addition to security precautions taken by consumers and service providers, self-monitoring is an effective way to combat cybercrime. Consumers should frequently check their bank account statements, as well as request annual free credit reports and monitor their credit on a monthly basis with free tools like the Credit Report Card.

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