Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cloud Computing: A cautionary tale

It was revealed last week that hackers had stolen sensitive account information from a major online payroll processing company to directly target its customers.

PayChoice, a company that provides online payroll tools to over 125,000 organizations and back-end support to 250 other payroll companies, was breached. Hackers emailed PayChoices customers directly with detailed information about their accounts to coerce them into giving up their passwords.

According to the Washington Post: Unlike typical so-called "phishing" scams -- which are sent indiscriminately to large numbers of people in the hopes that some percentage of recipients are customers of the targeted institution -- this attack addressed PayChoice customers by name in the body of the message. The missives also included reference to each recipient's user name and a portion of his or her password for the site.

PayChoice is taking appropriate steps to understand what happened and to correct any issues caused. Nevertheless, this serves as a cautionary tale as we move further down the road to decentralized cloud computing.

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