Barnes & Noble confirms hack exposed customer details

The attack also took down the Nook e-reader platform.

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(FILES) A Barnes & Noble bookstore is seen in this April 30, 2012 file photo in Washington,DC. US bookseller Barnes & Noble said September 25, 2012 it would launch a video service with films and television programs which can be purchased by owners of its Nook tablet in the United States and Britain. The service to debut later this year will include "blockbuster movies, classic films and original TV shows from major studios" for viewing on tablets, televisions or smartphones. Participating studios include HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Starz, Viacom, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney.  AFP PHOTO/KAREN BLEIER / FILES        (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImages)
KAREN BLEIER via Getty Images

Barnes & Noble has emailed its customers saying that it has been the “victim of a cybersecurity attack,” in which personal data was accessed. The breach not only affected B&N’s corporate IT systems but the Nook e-reader platform as well, leaving Nook owners unable to download books to their devices. This also meant that cash registers at B&N stores were rendered unusable while engineers scrambled to contain the issue. In a statement to The Register, the company says that it is “investigating the cause” but added that there was “no compromise of customer payment details.”

In the email to users, as published by The Digital Reader, the company said that while payment data was not accessed, data such as email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, as well as phone numbers, were.  More troubling is that a user’s purchase history could potentially have been breached, which could theoretically lead to blackmail or other repercussions if that data was published. In a tweet from the official Nook account, B&N said that it was “working urgently” to get the service “back to full operation,” which has unfortunately “taken longer than anticipated.” 

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Barnes & Noble confirms hack exposed customer details