Internet telephony provider Packet8 has accidentally disclosed the email addresses of 21,000 of its subscribers.
Packet8 sells internet telephony services to consumers and businesses in North America, allowing them to place telephone calls to regular phone numbers at a discounted rate. The VoIP provider has more than 73,000 subscribers.
Joan Citelli, director of corporate communications at Packet8, told vnunet.com that the data leak occurred when an employee accidentally attached a spreadsheet containing the email addresses to the monthly Packet8 email newsletter sent last Thursday.
The file contained no data other than the email addresses of subscribers of the opt-in newsletter.
Packet8 has instituted additional checks to prevent future security lapses. "It was a one-time fluke. I do not expect it to happen again," said Citelli.
The firm sent an email to customers on Friday apologising for the data disclosure.
"This just makes it easier for the spammers and phishers," he told vnunet.com.
Knowing that the addresses on the list are all Packet8 customers, phishers could send emails that appear to come from Packet8.
The email could then fool them into disclosing confidential information by asking them to re-enter credit card information or log-in name and password.
"The fact that this list is identifiable as being of customers of the service makes it potentially more dangerous," said Lockhart.
The mishap could have easily been prevented, he added, as there are numerous tools available that scan outgoing email messages for unwanted content and attachments.
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