VUDU Alerts Customers To Theft Of Hard Drives Containing Personal User Info

vudugrabIn the last hour, several Consumerist readers have forwarded us e-mails they have received from the video-streaming folks at VUDU. The message alerts customers to a recent theft at the company offices and the potential that customers’ private information could be compromised.

The letter — full text at bottom — says that someone broke into the VUDU office on March 24 and stole, among other things, computer hard drives that contain just about everything an ID thief would need to steal one’s identity: names, e-mail addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, account activity, dates of birth and the last four digits of some credit card numbers.

Passwords contained on the hard drives were encrypted, says VUDU, but even so, the company cautions that “we can’t rule out that possibility given the circumstances of this theft.”

VUDU is asking users to change their passwords and advising them to be cautious of any e-mails asking for further identifying info, as VUDU will never make such a request via e-mail.

The company says it will be offering a year’s worth of ID-theft protection to affected customers.

Here is the full text:

Dear XXX,

We want to let you know that there was a break-in at the VUDU offices on March 24, 2013, and a number of items were stolen, including hard drives.

Our investigation thus far indicates that these hard drives contained customer information, including names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, account activity, dates of birth and the last four digits of some credit card numbers. It’s important to note that the drives did NOT contain full credit card numbers, as we do not store that information. Additionally, please note if you have never set a password on the VUDU site and have only logged in through another site, your password was not on the hard drives.

While the stolen hard drives included VUDU account passwords, those passwords were encrypted. We believe it would be difficult to break the password encryption, but we can’t rule out that possibility given the circumstances of this theft. So we think it’s best to be proactive and ask that you be proactive as well.

SECURITY PRECAUTIONS:

If you had a password set on the VUDU site, we have taken the precaution of expiring and resetting that password. To create a new password, go to http://www.vudu.com. Click the “Sign In” button at the top of the page. Enter your current username and current password when prompted, then follow the instructions to reset your password securely. Also, if you use your expired VUDU password on any other sites, we strongly recommend that you change it on those sites as well.

As always, remember that VUDU will never ask you for personal or account information in an e-mail. Please use caution if you receive any emails or phone calls from anyone asking for personal information or directing you to a web site where you are asked to provide personal information.

As an added precaution, we are arranging to have AllClear ID protect your identity for one year at no cost to you. We have FAQs on our web site (vudu.com/passwordreset) to answer questions on the incident and to more fully describe how to use the AllClear ID service. We have reported this incident to law enforcement and are cooperating fully with their investigation. We want you to know that we take this matter very seriously, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.