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MuchMusic warns of contest security breach

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Aug. 23rd, 2001 | 05:22 pm
posted by: askani in loud

MuchMusic has warned Web site contest entrants that their personal information may
now be in the hands of hackers, globeandmail.com has learned.

MuchMusic intends to speak about the issue at 4 p.m. EST.

Early Thursday morning, the music television station sent out a mass security advisory e-mail to all contest entrants saying that they had reason to believe their contest databases had been compromised.

Read the memo

The contests are open to people under the age of majority, providing that the prize is accepted on their behalf by their parent or legal guardian.

When entering contests at MuchMusic's Web site, people must provide a home or e-mail address, phone number, and age.

"Keeping your personal information confidential and secure is very important to us and we have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that all such data remains private," the advisory read.
"However, as the Internet is not a 100 per cent secure environment, there is potential for your personal data to get into the wrong hands."

The release also says that contest entrants have received "prank" phone calls from people pretending to be MuchMusic employees.

"We are taking these complaints very seriously and have launched an investigation," the release said. "If you receive a call from anyone telling you they are from MuchMusic and they ask you to do anything other than to dial our headquarters hang up. This is a prank phone call."

Ed Arditti, a lawyer and vice-president of Wyndham Hall Consulting in Windsor, Ont., said Thursday that he got four copies of the e-mail to different addresses at his house. His children, who are in their 20s, had entered contests.

Mr. Arditti is upset MuchMusic didn't post a message on their homepage about the security breach.

"After they sent the e-mails out, I went to the site and there wasn't a damn thing about it, and it annoyed me," Mr. Arditti said. "If they send out e-mails to everybody in the world who's entered their contests, you'd think they'd be up front about it on their Web site. It's just so bizarre."

MuchMusic.com has added a warning to the site on its contest page. Once users click to enter a contest a section of the warning e-mail comes up on the screen.

"With all the scares about viruses and trojans and hackers and things, and especially because they're dealing with kids, I would have thought that they would have a pretty secure system in place." he said.

Mr. Arditti said the release didn't give enough information.

"It's also not clear to me from that e-mail whether someone broke into their Web site, or whether someone like an employee just downloaded a database and took it with them," he said.

With a report from Ian Johnson

Copyright 2001 The Globe and Mail

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