Online marketplace dubizzle announced that its United Arab Emirates website faced a security breach affecting a “small percentage of its database.”
On Saturday, dubizzle sent out emails to all its customers asking them to reset their passwords.
“As a precautionary measure and to help ensure that this breach is contained and does not impact our UAE users, we have reset all UAE users’ passwords. Changing passwords is a best practice and standard dubizzle security protocol,” said dubizzle’s general manager Barry Judge.
However he stressed that the database does not contain financial information or plain-text passwords.
“Our users’ financial details are secure. dubizzle does not store credit-card details or have access to this data. Financial data is encrypted and stored separately on a third party secure network,” he explained.
“Since the breach occurred, our team has been working efficiently and effectively in applying the best forensics tools and practices to protect our community of users.”
The email to customers also urged users who use the same password on other sites to change those passwords as well.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the recent password change. We appreciate our users trust us with their information and we take our responsibility of safeguarding their information very seriously,” said Judge.
“We are a transparent company and will be communicating any updates on the situation with our community of users if necessary,” he added.
The UAE has been facing an increasing number of cyber attacks in the last few years.
A recent report by Symantec found that attacks against the country rose from less than one per cent of the global total in 2013 to almost five per cent in 2014.
There was also a slight increase in cyber criminals exploiting online IT vulnerabilities, with the UAE shifting from 53 in 2013 to 48 last year for network attacks and 60 to 50 for web attacks.
In the mobile space, 13 per cent of devices in the UAE experienced an attempted or successful infection of mobile malware last year.
The country also ranked 21 for social media scams and 36 for ransomware threats, involving blocking access to users’ files, the report found.