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February 13, 2013

Jawbone Kills Old Passwords, Warns Users of MyTalk Hack

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Jawbone is currently warning users about a new problem cropping up in its MyTalk service, and has taken some fairly drastic steps to protect its users in the wake of what Jawbone is calling an "isolated" attack on MyTalk's stock of user information.

Jawbone elaborated on the limited nature of the attack in a letter to users, saying the attack in question was after user information. Hackers managed to make off with user names, e-mail addresses and passwords, though the passwords were encrypted when the hackers got them.

As such, Jawbone acted promptly, and upon discovering the attack, automatically killed all the old user passwords, reducing the value of the hackers' haul significantly.

Jawbone further stated that it didn't believe any unauthorized access had taken place, nor that any login information had been improperly used. But still, precautions were clearly warranted, and that led Jawbone to engage in the rapid deletion of passwords. Users of the MyTalk service were thus required to reset their own passwords, protecting the accounts from any hope of unauthorized access.

Even if the hackers could decrypt the passwords they took, the passwords would be invalid.

It's hard to find a way to fault Jawbone in any of this; it was broken into, sure, but Jawbone acted quickly, performed a move that would have protected customers' accounts and made it very easy for customers to pick up the pieces with a simple password reset. The firm stepped up as quickly as possible and made the whole thing painless for its customer base, and that's a sign that should be very welcome indeed for those who own Jawbone hardware, or for those who use the MyTalk service.

Better yet, there wasn't a lot of lag between Jawbone's discovery of the hack and Jawbone's response to its customers; the whole thing was done from hack to deleted passwords and notification in a matter of hours. That's a move that no doubt will prove comforting to users.

These days, protecting user information is a top priority for many firms. Not only are many users still feeling a bit skittish following the PlayStation Network hack of 2011, but users are also finding themselves trusting more and more data to company systems. If companies aren't stepping up to the plate and putting robust protection measures in place – and reacting quickly to any breaches – they run the risk of users finding other sources for their technology needs.

Making user security a top priority is vital to the long-term health of most any business, especially a technology provider. Jawbone has just shown other companies in the field the way, but only time will tell how many of them take the lesson seriously.

Edited by Braden Becker
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