Online retailer eBay has become a victim of a cyber-attack and thus the e-commerce site has started asking its users to change their passwords. The hackers, in fact, took away some 145 million user records from a database and it has turned out to be one of the biggest data breaches in the history based on the number of accounts compromised.
The US firm said that the database was hacked between late February and early March, and it contained encrypted passwords and other non-financial data. It discovered the breach in early May and immediately brought in security experts and law enforcement to investigate.
The firm also owns the PayPal money transfer service. It said that the division's data was stored separately, encrypted and that there was no evidence that it had been accessed. The company assured saying that there was no evidence of unauthorized activity on its members' accounts, whatsoever.
But just to keep its customers on the safe side, it said that changing the passwords was "best practice and will help enhance security for eBay users". The company would thus contact users to alert them of the issue via email, its website, adverts and social media. The company further said that any members who used the same login details used on eBay for other sites should also update them.
The California-based online retail site has 128 million active users and accounted for $212bn (£126bn) worth of business on its various marketplaces and other services in 2013.
Computer security experts say the biggest such breach was uncovered at software maker Adobe Systems Inc in October 2013, when hackers accessed about 152 million user accounts.