Aug. 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM ET
One would think that some things in life — such as chocolate and chocolate-related recipes — are sacred even in the eyes of hackers, but a recent attack on a website belonging to chocolate manufacturer Hershey's proves otherwise.
Consumerist reports that many of Hershey's customers received an email announcing that a security breach recently occurred and that it resulted in the alteration of a recipe.
Yes, seriously. Someone hacked the Hershey's website and changed a recipe.
There aren't details as to which recipe was altered or how dramatic the change was. Hershey's did make it a point to explain that some customer information — such as email addresses, birth dates, addresses, and passwords used on Hershey's websites — may also have been compromised though.
The company suggests that customers who use the same password on its website as they do on other sites or services should change it as a precautionary measure.
But who's really worried about passwords now? I'm more focused on the fact that I can no longer trust recipes I find online.
No matter what your worries are though, here's the email Hershey's sent — as provided to Consumerist:
Dear Hershey Consumer,
At Hershey, we are committed to open communications with our consumers and other stakeholders. As a result, we want to take a moment to inform you about a recent incident and the steps we took to correct it.
We recently discovered that an unauthorized individual accessed one of our websites and altered one of our baking recipes. As you know, Hershey's recipes are built on our legacy of offering the highest-quality products for more than 100 years. Consumers rely on us for this information, and we take the quality of our baking and cooking recipes very seriously. We have corrected the issue and taken steps to enhance the security of this information. We have thoroughly investigated the situation and reviewed the recipes on this site to ensure their quality. All indications are that this incident involved only the site where we manage consumer baking and cooking recipes.
No financial information was stored on the same server as our recipes, and Hershey's online stores operate on a different system. However, the server did contain consumer website registration information, including email addresses, birthdates and street addresses as well as passwords used to enter some of our sites.
We have no indication that any of this consumer information was compromised; however, given the nature of this incident, we are acting out of an abundance of caution and informing you that this server was accessed. We are also outlining some steps to help you ensure your security whenever you use the Internet and email.
If you used the same password on a Hershey website that you use for your email or other sensitive accounts, please consider changing those passwords as a precaution. For your security, we ask you to be especially aware of email scams that ask for personal or sensitive information.
Remember, The Hershey Company never asks you to supply or verify sensitive personal or financial information via email; only provide this type of information through a secure website. If you receive a request for this type of information, you can be confident that The Hershey Company is not the organization making the request.
The following guidelines are offered by our information security experts to help protect yourself online:
- Vary your passwords by site
-Use strong passwords
-Change your passwords frequently
-Use caution when opening email links or attachments from unknown senders
We appreciate your loyalty to The Hershey Company and regret any inconvenience this may have caused. We take this matter very seriously and have enhanced our security measures to ensure the quality of our recipes.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call us at 1-800-468-1714 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time.”