Customers of computer components supplier Accubyte have been encouraged to check their credit card records for fraudulent misuse after it admitted that its previously lax security left confidential information exposed.
The problem came to light after an email sent to what is said to be 250 Accubyte customers was forwarded to The Register.
According to the email, poor programming involving the site's shopping cart software resulted in an email confirmation of orders - which contained credit card information, names and addresses - to be transmitted over the Internet in a clear text message.
This left confidential information exposed, and the sender of the warning email claims to have broken into an email account where he recovered "a file listing of all of our names, home address, phone numbers, email and credit card details".
After becoming a victim of fraud, he decided to send a warning to others using the email list he obtained from the account (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A sales rep for Illinois-based Accubyte confirmed that there was a security issue with the confirmation email it sent out following orders, which he said contained order and "credit card details".
He said the system was changed three weeks ago so that customers would be asked to log into a server to receive order confirmations - which he stated meant the site was now fully secure.
When we asked him how many Accubyte customers were affected by the earlier problem, how many people had complained or what the site was doing to address any fraud that might have been committed he became increasingly keen to get off the phone.
We hope his advice that Accubyte customers' should "call their credit card firm and dispute any charges they think are fraudulent", is not the official line.
The hardware retailer should be doing rather more than this to help its customers. Incidentally, Accubyte's motto is: "If we don't take care of you, someone else will!" Quite. ®