By Jaikumar Vijayan
July 17, 2007
A September 2005 security breach that remained undetected until
"recently" may have compromised the names, addresses and credit card
details of roughly 27,000 online customers of computer memory vendor
Kingston Technology Company Inc.
The Fountain Valley, Calif.-based company began sending letters to
affected customers informing them of the incident last week.
According to a spokesman, Kingston's IT team "detected irregularities"
in the company computer systems at some unspecified point in time and --
along with a team of forensic computer experts -- began investigating
the issues. It was not until after that probe was completed and a final
report released on May 22 that Kingston could confirm the scope of the
intrusion and its impact.
"After confirming what data was accessed and who was affected, Kingston
had to gather the appropriate contact information and arrange for
consumer protection services and materials to notify the impacted
consumers," the spokesman said.
But the company did not offer details on how or when the breach was
discovered and how long it waited to notify customers about the
potential compromise of data. Kingston, which had $3 billion in sales
last year, also did not offer any explanation on the nature and scope of
the breach itself or why it remained undetected for so long. The
spokesman added that the breach is believed to have been perpetrated by
an external attacker.
In an e-mailed statement, the company said it has taken "aggressive
steps" to minimize any potential risk to those affected by the illegal
access. The vendor said it has contracted with New York-based security
consulting firm Kroll Inc. to provide services such as credit monitoring
and, if needed, "identity restoration" free of charge to affected
"Following the discovery of the intrusion, Kingston engaged a top
computer forensics firm to conduct a thorough investigation and assist
in the development of even greater levels of system security to protect
against future attacks," the statement said. The company did not
elaborate on what those measures were.
The note added that, for the moment at least, there is no evidence that
the illegally accessed data has been misused. "Kingston has always made
customer privacy a priority and deeply regrets this situation, which is
the first of its kind in the nearly 20-year history of our company," it
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