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Home Design Website Houzz Alerts Users of Data Breach

Home remodeling and design platform Houzz informed customers this week of a data breach that involved some personal information.

According to its website, Houzz has over 40 million monthly unique users, but the company said not everyone was impacted by the incident. It’s unclear exactly how many individuals are affected, but Houzz says it has notified them.

The company discovered the breach in December, when it learned that a file containing user data was obtained by an “unauthorized third party.” Regarding how the hack was discovered, Houzz said, “Our security team has a number of ways to learn about potential security vulnerabilities, including our own active methods and third-party reporting.”

The compromised file stored profile information such as name, city, state, country and description. Houzz noted that some users may have made this information public.

The file also contained some internal identifiers used by Houzz systems, but the company believes this data does not hold any value to outsiders. The most sensitive information includes usernames, password hashes, IP addresses, and, if access to Houzz was made through Facebook, the user’s Facebook ID.

Houzz has told users that social security numbers or financial information have not been involved in the incident.

While the company claims that it does not believe passwords were actually compromised — it has not shared any information on the hashing algorithm, but says a unique salt is used for each password — it has still advised customers to reset their password on both the Houzz platform and any other site where the same password was set.

Houzz says it has notified law enforcement and called in a forensics firm to assist with the investigation and remediation efforts.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.