Hackers broke into the registration database of the British technology news website TechRadar last month and stole users' email addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords.
TechRadar learned of the breach on June 22 during a routine site update; following further investigation, it was determined that the confidential information was compromised on May 7, TechRadar's publisher, Nick Merritt, wrote in an advisory.
Upon discovering the attack, which took place through the company's online forums, TechRadar immediately shut them down. The forums, Merritt said, "will remain closed until we are satisfied there are no further issues and the forum can be safely restored to the service."
Tech Radar joins an enormous list of companies, including Restaurant Depot, Global Payments, Twitter, Nissan, LinkedIn, eHarmony, LEGO and the porn site Brazzers that have suffered data breaches at the hands of hackers.
TechRadar said the illegally accessed passwords were encrypted, and that it is not aware of any of the stolen data being misused. As a precaution, the company warned all registered users of the site to change their password if they reuse it on another site.
The fact that registered users' birth dates and other sensitive information was exposed by the hack could be seen as an opportunity to scale back the level of information we hand over to websites, Chet Wisniewski of the security firm Sophos said.
"This does bring up an important issue though. Is it really a good idea to share your date of birth with a random tech forum?" Wisniewski wrote on a Sophos blog. "Why do so many websites, grocery stores, hotels and other establishments think it is appropriate to ask for something so important to our identities? When asked to share your birth date, postal code or any other personal information ask yourself … Is there a legal reason they need to know, or is it just a nice-to-have?"