The auditions for the upcoming season of the Simon Cowell-hosted singing competition "The X Factor" got off to a rocky start after the show's network, Fox, revealed that cybercriminals hacked into a database containing the personal information of 250,000 potential contestants.
Online thieves may have potentially made off with the names, emails, ZIP codes, phone numbers, genders and dates of birth of the quarter-of-a-million "X Factor" wannabes, according to an email from Fox about the security breach obtained by the Daily Star.
Although the show promises to vault its winner to celebrity stardom, this data breach is not the kind of widespread public exposure these would-be singing stars were hoping for.
Fox's email tells "X Factor" hopefuls that no financial information was accessed in the hack, and warns them to be cautious of phishing scams that may arise now that their sensitive information is in untrusted hands.
"'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," the email read. "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."
Fox reports that "The X Factor" auditions are still under way, and will end May 8.