REPORTER: EBay is urging 145 million users of its online commerce platform to change their passwords after a cyber attack compromised customer data. The company said on Wednesday that hackers stole non-financial information, such as email addresses, encrypted passwords, and birth dates between late February and early March. An eBay spokesperson said a large number of accounts may have been compromised, but declined to say how many. Julia Horwitz is consumer protection counsel at the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC.
JULIA HORWITZ: "I think, unfortunately, I wasn't all that surprised to hear there had been another data breach. Over the last year or so we've been hearing quite a lot about internet firms having their databases breached."
REPORTER: She says eBay needs to adopt stronger methods to protect data.
JULIA HORWITZ: "Changing your password is helpful a couple of times, I think, but after a while you sort of run out of variations on your pet's name, so I think that after that the burden really shifts back to the companies and to Congress to make sure that all of the appropriate protections are in place."
REPORTER: EBay said its investigation of the breach is ongoing, with assistance from law enforcement. The company said it found no evidence that its PayPal online payment service had been breached.
If hackers breach a website, server, database, etc, they overcome the security measures in order to discover information that should be kept secret. • Chinese hackers who breached Google's servers several years ago gained access to a sensitive database with years' worth of information.