Zappos Site Hacked, Customers' Information Leaked
Written by Emily Butcher
Popular online retailer, Zappos.com, announced late Sunday night that hackers had exposed personal information for as many as its entire database of users – 24 million customers.
An informational post on the shoe and clothing company’s Web site specified that although whole credit card numbers were not accessed, account holders’ names, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and the last four digits of credit cards kept on file were hacked.
Customers are expected to receive an e-mail alert Monday in which Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explains, "We were recently the victim of a cyber attack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky. We are cooperating with law enforcement to undergo an exhaustive investigation.”
Account passwords have been automatically invalidated and need to be reset, and Hsieh urges Zappos customers to change their passwords on any other sites that utilize the same, or a similar, password. This unsafe, yet common, practice greatly increases the chance for further compromised information and can even lead to identity theft, a crime made easier by the rise in online shopping.
Zappos customers can visit http://www.zappos.com/passwordchange to reset their password and are encouraged to contact the retailer with any questions or concerns.
Still, customers may be left with the lingering question: is the convenience of online shopping worth the risk of personal information being illegally accessed and exposed? This situation can act as a reminder for shoppers to take precautions when storing important information online and checking that the sites they purchase from are safe and secure.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”