Blippy Promises Security Improvements After Data Leak

 
 
By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2010-04-26 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Blippy pledges to invest in security in response to the discovery that user credit card numbers had been exposed in Google search results. According to Blippy, the credit card information had been available since February.

Blippy.com is on the lookout for a chief security officer, following a data leak that exposed some users' credit card numbers.

A social networking site that allows users to share information about their shopping purchases, Blippy found itself in the news the week of April 19 after reports surfaced that user credit card numbers had inadvertently been exposed for months. In response, Blippy CEO Ashvin Kumar pledged that the company would be hiring security staff and investing in security.

According to Kumar, the situation has its roots in what he called a "technical oversight" by the company back in February. At the time, raw transaction data appeared within the HTML code on certain Blippy Web pages for roughly half a day. After realizing the some of the data was sensitive, the company plugged the leak, he explained.

However, Google crawled and indexed Blippy pages during the half a day the problem existed, taking a snapshot of the data.

"Though our site has changed considerably since early February, Google's snapshot of these pages did not update, which effectively extended a half-day exposure into a three-month exposure," Kumar blogged. "While Google provides Webmasters with tools to remove pages from its index, we overlooked the fact that Blippy could have been crawled by Google during the period of the exposure."

The company spent April 23 investigating the situation and working with Google to remove the search engine snippets and results for the discovered cards, Kumar explained, adding Google promptly removed the 200 or so URLs. Initially, it was thought that only four users had been affected by the leak. When a fifth credit card number was discovered April 24, the company required Google to remove all snippets and cached pages related to Blippy, Kumar said.

Ultimately, Blippy notified eight users of the data exposure.

"While these users reflect a tiny sliver of our user base, any number greater than zero is deeply unacceptable to us ... After reaching a resolution, we spent today working on a go-forward plan to ensure that this never happens again," Kumar said.

Part one of the plan is to hire a chief security officer and associated staff. The company also plans to have regular third-party infrastructure and application security audits, as well as to invest in systems to "aggressively filter out sensitive information," Kumar said. The company will also work to control caching of information in search engines and create a security and privacy center that contains information about what Blippy is doing to protect users, Kumar said.

"The security of our users is our highest priority," he said. "If there are additional measures you would like us to take to improve Blippy's security, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at hello@blippy.com."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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