PR Newswire Breached: Adobe Hackers Implicated

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Press release distributor says passwords stolen, as data found on same server as pilfered Adobe information

PR Newswire is warning members their data may be in danger due to a breach of the press release distributor’s systems in March.

Usernames and encrypted passwords were stolen, according to KrebsOnSecurity, which discovered the pilfered data was recovered from the same server that was hosting information taken from software giant Adobe, as well as a host of other organisations. That would indicate the same hacker crew hit both.

Adobe summit logoAdobe link

Adobe admitted earlier this month it had been breached, saying information relating to 2.9 million customers, including customer names and encrypted credit card details, could have been compromised.

PR Newswire said it appeared the affected data was related to customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Police have been notified, but no financial data seems to have been taken. Customers are being advised to change their login details.

The database contained around 10,000 records, PR Newswire told Krebs, and “only a minority of active users” were on the database. “Those users represent an even smaller number of customers, as each customer generally has multiple usernames. PR Newswire decided to implemented a mandatory password reset for all customers with accounts on this database as a precautionary measure.”

There has been no major fallout, but the ramifications could have been serious. If a hacker compromised a PR Newswire account and began disseminating false information, it could seriously affect the share price of the related firm.

When the Syrian Electronic Army took control of an Associated Press Twitter feed and claimed President Obama had been injured in an explosion at the White House, the Dow Jones tumbled by over 140 points.

Fake news can also have a positive impact. Earlier this month, another press release distributor, Cision AB, sent out a release claiming Samsung agreed to buy biometrics firm Fingerprint Cards, sending the latter’s shares soaring.

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