Friday, February 27, 2004

Incident: Softbank Says Data on 4.52 Million Subscribers Leaked

Yahoo news is reporting a significan incident out of Japan:

Yahoo! News - Softbank Says Data on 4.52 Million Subscribers Leaked Fri Feb 27, 6:31 AM ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Softbank Corp., Japan's largest provider of broadband Web access, on Friday said 4.52 million names, or 67 percent of its Yahoo BB Internet service database had been leaked due to two alleged extortion rings.

The company said it expected to spend four billion yen to compensate all of its 3.8 million Yahoo BB subscribers as well as other affected people. It also reiterated its recently announced goal of signing up six million subscribers by September 2005.

The database included 2.4 million current customer names as well as those who left the service, those who are still in the process of signing up, and those who are still in its free trial period.

Japanese media described it as the largest-ever leak of customer data.

"We are sincerely sorry," Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told a news conference as he bowed his head. "We will take the utmost care to make sure this never happens again."

Tokyo metropolitan police said earlier this week they had arrested four men in two separate cases on suspicion of stealing confidential customer data and trying to extort money from Softbank by threatening to leak it.


Son said the breach of security came from Softbank BB, the subsidiary that manages the business and of which he is also CEO.

He said names, phone numbers, postal addresses, email addresses and Yahoo Japan IDs were leaked, but credit card, bank account and password details were not involved as they were held on a different database.

In response, he said the company has severely restricted the number of employees that can access the database and improved its logging system to record access history. Son also said the company has retained a security firm to help prevent hacking from the outside.

Softbank said it believes the information was obtained from the inside, but it does not yet know specifically how the information was obtained. It is issuing 500 yen cash certificates to all Yahoo BB users, as well as other affected people, as an apology. ...

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