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Charter Subscriber Info Accessed In Breach At Marketing Firm

The e-mail addresses and names of some Charter Communications customers were accessed by an unauthorized individual in a security breach at marketing services company Epsilon last week, the cable operator said Wednesday.

Other companies with customer e-mails stolen in the Epsilon incident include HSN, The Walt Disney Co., TiVo, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Target, Best Buy and Walgreens.

Charter notified customers of the breach in an e-mail Wednesday, explaining that only names and e-mail addresses were accessed and that account information and other confidential data were not affected.

"Charter takes our customers' privacy very seriously and are committed to protecting information, whether held by us or by our service providers," the cable company said in a statement. "Charter and Epsilon have begun a comprehensive review of their data security protocols to further protect customer information and are working with law enforcement to catch the criminals responsible for this breach."

The St. Louis-based cable operator advised customers to be cautious when opening links or attachments "from unknown third parties." The MSO directed customers to www.charter.com/security for additional information.

Epsilon's parent company, Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems, issued a statement Wednesday reaffirming that the unauthorized entry on March 30 into an Epsilon e-mail system was limited to e-mail addresses and/or customer names only.

"No personal identifiable information (PII) was compromised, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or account information," ADS said. "Epsilon is working with authorities and external experts to conduct a full investigation to identify those responsible for the incident while also implementing additional security protocols in its email operations."

According to Epsilon, the companies affected by the breach represent approximately 2% of its total client base.