Attacks on electronic customer databases have been dominating the news over the past couple of months, particularly the Epsilon breach which saw data belonging to some of the most established businesses and banks in the US compromised.

Early on Monday, news of an attack on company servers belonging to music executive and former American Idol judge Simon Cowell came to light, highlighting that details of more than 250,000 US X Factor entrants had reportedly been stolen, an attack that is under investigation by the FBI.

Entrant records, whilst containing no financial information, did include names, email addresses, zip codes, phone numbers and other information. TV show bosses, worried that attackers will use the data to scam those listed in the records, issued an email update to warn contestants of the security breach:

‘This week, we learned that computer hackers illegally accessed information you and others submitted to us to receive information about The X Factor auditions.

It is possible that the information you did provide to us, which included your name, email address, zip code, phone number (which was optional), date of birth, and gender, may have been accessed.

We are taking this matter very seriously and are working with federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this illegal action.

The X Factor will never ask you to email personal information such as financial data, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or the user name or passwords you use to access other websites.

If you receive an email that appears to be from Fox.com or The X Factor asking for personal information, please delete it, as it did not come from us.’

As discussed in our recent report, the attackers are likely to utilise the information once reports of the hack die down. Those affected should be aware of targeted emails that do specify personal information but request financial details.