Zendesk Security Breach Affects Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest
- 10:19 PM
Customer service software provider Zendesk announced a security breach that allowed attackers into its system, where they could access data from three customers this week. Wired learned those three clients were Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.
The San Francisco-based company announced the breach in a blog post published early Thursday night. Tumblr notified affected users in an email at approximately 6:35 p.m. PST; Twitter and Pinterest are expected to do so shortly. Zendesk declined to comment beyond its blog post, titled, appropriately, “We’ve been hacked.” The post reads in part:
We’ve become aware that a hacker accessed our system this week. As soon as we learned of the attack, we patched the vulnerability and closed the access that the hacker had. Our ongoing investigation indicates that the hacker had access to the support information that three of our customers store on our system. We believe that the hacker downloaded email addresses of users who contacted those three customers for support, as well as support email subject lines. We notified our affected customers immediately and are working with them to assist in their response.
Zendesk allows companies to outsource many of their customer service functions to it via software tools. It has more than 25,000 clients, according to its website.
Zendesk noted that a hacker downloaded e-mail addresses of users who contacted those three customers for support, along with the e-mail subject lines. Wired’s source claims some customers also may have had their phone numbers revealed, but no passwords, password hashes, or even encrypted passwords were revealed. Neither Twitter, Pinterest nor Tumblr are aware of any user accounts that were compromised by the attack.
The e-mail sent by Tumblr states:
Important information regarding your security and privacy
For the last 2.5 years, we’ve used a popular service called Zendesk to store, organize, and answer emails to Tumblr Support. We’ve learned that a security breach at Zendesk has affected Tumblr and two other companies. We are sending this notification to all email addresses that we believe may have been affected by this breach.
This has potentially exposed records of subject lines and, in some cases, email addresses of messages sent to Tumblr Support. While much of this information is innocuous, please take some time today to consider the following:
The subject lines of your emails to Tumblr Support may have included the address of your blog which could potentially allow your blog to be unwillingly associated with your email address.
Any other information included in the subject lines of emails you’ve sent to Tumblr Support may be exposed. We recommend you review any correspondence you’ve addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Tumblr will never ask you for your password by email. Emails are easy to fake, and you should be suspicious of unexpected emails you receive.
Your safety is our highest priority. We’re working with law enforcement and Zendesk to better understand this attack. Please monitor your email and Tumblr accounts for suspicious behavior, and notify us immediately if you have any concerns.
The e-mail Pinterest is sending its users reads:
An important notice about security on Pinterest
We recently learned that the vendor we use to answer support requests
and other emails (Zendesk) experienced a security breach.
We’re sending you this email because we received or answered a message from you using Zendesk. Unfortunately your name, email address and subject line of your message were improperly accessed during their security breach. To help keep your account secure, please:
Don’t share your password. We will never send you an email asking for your password. If you get an email like this, please let us know right away.
Beware of suspicious emails. If you get any emails that look like they’re from Pinterest but don’t feel right, please let us know—especially if they include details about your support request.
Use a strong Pinterest password. Hackers can sometimes guess very short passwords with no letters or symbols. If your password is weak, you can create a new one.
We’re really sorry this happened, and we’ll keep working with law enforcement and our vendors to ensure your information is protected.
Twitter’s message to its affected users notes:
Twitter – along with a number of other companies – uses a customer support portal called Zendesk. Zendesk recently blogged about a significant security breach. In order to ensure those who may be impacted by this breach are notified as quickly as possible, we are sending this notification to all email addresses, including this one, that we believe could have been involved.
Zendesk’s breach did not result in the exposure of information such as Twitter account passwords. It may, however, have included contact information you provided when submitting a support request such as an email, phone number, or Twitter username. Further information about the breach can be found in their blog post.
We do not believe you need to take any action at this time but wanted to ensure that you were notified of this incident.