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AOL: Security Breach May Have Exposed Private Info Of ‘Significant Number’ Of Email Users’ Accounts

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The AOL logo is posted on a sign in front of the AOL Inc. offices on Feb. 7, 2011 in Palo Alto, Calif. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The AOL logo is posted on a sign in front of the AOL Inc. offices on Feb. 7, 2011 in Palo Alto, Calif. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — AOL says a security breach may have exposed the private information of a “significant number” of its email users’ accounts.

The company said Monday that the email addresses, postal addresses, address books, encrypted passwords and encrypted answers to security questions of users may have been exposed, along with some employee information.

AOL believes spammers used this contact information to send “spoofed” emails. Spoofing is a tactic used by spammers to make an email look like it is from someone the recipient knows to trick him or her into opening it. These emails do not originate from the sender’s email — the addresses are just edited to make them appear that way.

“Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, we strongly encourage you to reset your password used for any AOL service and, when you do so, you should take the time to change your account security question and answer,” Bud Rosenthal, AOL Membership Group CEO, said in a statement.

The company estimates these emails came from about 2 percent of its accounts. The investigation is still underway.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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