Email List Stolen From Hacked Dropbox Employee

An employee's Dropbox account with an insecure password was compromised. A list of user e-mails from that account was used in a spam campaign. The company recommends users get a password manager.

George Ou, Contributor

August 1, 2012

1 Min Read

Dropbox has acknowledged that one of its employees' Dropbox accounts was hacked. The hacked Dropbox account contained a list of customer emails and those users were, in turn, sent spam. According to a report in TechCrunch, some users reported that email accounts receiving the spam were only used for Dropbox, which raised suspicion that Dropbox was hacked. This led Dropbox to investigate the issue, and the investigation revealed that one of their employees had been hacked along with other Dropbox accounts.

Dropbox asserts that usernames and passwords were hacked on other unnamed websites and that these credentials were the same as those used in the hacked Dropbox accounts. While this diverts much blame away from Dropbox, the problem remains that Dropbox employees were using unencrypted email lists stored on the public Internet with minimal security.

To improve security, Dropbox will soon implement a new two-factor authentication system that involves sending Dropbox users temporary codes to their cell phones. They will also scan for suspicious activity and give users access to a monitoring page that lets you examine all active logins to your account. Dropbox will also prompt users to change less secure passwords or passwords that haven't changed in a long time. That may annoy users with strong one-time use passwords that don't really need to be changed over time, but it is considered best practice.

Dropbox also suggests to its users that they should use password management tools so that they can use a unique password on every website they visit. As for the user list stored in an employee Dropbox account the company only says that they "...have put additional controls in place to help make sure it doesn't happen again."

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About the Author(s)

George Ou


George Ou was a network engineer, CISSP security expert. He has been a technology writer for over ten years and recently worked in Washington DC as a think tank expert.

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