Washington PostAn unknown group of hackers targeted the Washington Post’s jobs section last week and made off with 1.3 million user e-mail addresses. An FAQ released by the Post on Thursday addresses what happened and how users will likely be affected.

While the breach only appeared to steal user names and e-mail addresses, this is bad news for newspaper websites, which often require registration via e-mail for access to articles. This incident yet again highlights the need for better security protocols for companies that hold users’ personal data. The biggest incident of this kind in recent months was the breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network in which hackers stole more than 100 million customers’ data.

The Post said attacks occurred once on June 27 and once on June 28 and noted the worst thing likely to happen with stolen e-mail addresses is that users will receive more spam than usual.

“In this case, you should be aware that you may receive some unsolicited e-mail (spam) as a result of this incident,” wrote Beth Diaz, Director of Digital Product Development for the Post, in a letter to affected users. “As a general matter, you should always avoid opening suspicious or unsolicited e-mail, never respond to or click any links in spam, and avoid providing personal or financial information in an e-mail – especially credit card information, bank account information, passwords, and ID numbers. We will never ask you for your password or such sensitive personal information over e-mail.”

What do you think about this attack? Do you trust large companies to keep your personal data safe?

Photo via biblicone