Sun readers' details hacked

Summary:News International has warned hundreds of Sun readers that their personal details may have been stolen as part of a Sun website defacement in July

News International has written to hundreds of Sun readers with a warning that their personal details may have been compromised.

Sun website hacked

News International has written to hundreds of Sun readers with a warning that their personal details may have been compromised after a hack on The Sun website.

The Sun website was hacked on 19 July, and personal data was compromised, News International executive Chris Duncan said in a letter to customers on Monday.

"It has... come to our attention that some customer information from competitions and polls was breached as part of this attack," said Duncan. "We are contacting you because we believe that information that you submitted to us could have been accessed, and may be published online by the group responsible."

Stolen details could include name, address, date of birth, email and phone numbers, although no financial or password information was compromised, said Duncan. News International is working with police and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over the hack, Duncan added.

A hacker styled 'Batteye' claimed to have posted details taken from The Sun on the Pastebin website on Sunday and Monday. The competition and poll data that was exposed included a referendum list, a Wrigleys football competition, a Monarch competition from 2009, a Scottish Students Poll, and a royal wedding well-wishers list. In addition, 'Batteye' posted alleged Sun password hashes and server details.

ZDNet UK understands that the competitions and polls that were hacked correspond to the titles of the documents posted on Pastebin.

News International is aware of the details posted on Pastebin, and is looking into whether the information was the same as the stolen data from The Sun, a News International spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. News International declined to say how many customers it had notified about the hack, but said that the total number of people that had taken part in the competitions was around 800.

"We take customer data extremely seriously and are working with the relevant authorities to resolve this matter," said News International in a statement. "We are directly contacting any customers who have been affected by this."

The Sun website was defaced on 18 July by the Lulzsec hacker group, and readers were redirected to a fake story about Rupert Murdoch dying. Sun customer details were exposed during the hack.

Jake Davies, a teenager arrested in the Shetland Islands last week, was charged with a number of offences at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, including with involvement in the News International hack and Sun website defacement. Davies was accused of being a prominent Lulzsec and Anonymous member called 'Topiary'.

The ICO confirmed on Tuesday that it was looking into the Sun website hack and whether it should take any action against News International.

"We have been informed of the data breach," said an ICO spokesman. "We are working with the inquiry to see whether any further action is required."


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Topics: Security

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Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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