Digital Privacy

Etsy-owned musical instrument marketplace Reverb suffers data breach

The online musical instrument marketplace Reverb has suffered a data breach which has exposed the personal details of 5.6 million users.

Security researcher Bob Diachenko, who has a long track record of uncovering databases left unsecured on the internet, came across an unsecured Elasticsearch server earlier this month which allowed anyone to access information about millions of Reverb’s users – no password required.

Details exposed in the database included:

  • Users’ full names
  • Users’ email addresses
  • Users’ phone numbers
  • Users’ mailing addresses
  • Users’ PayPal details
  • Information about users’ listings and orders

According to Diachenko, the exposed data included information about high profile rock musicians such as Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, Jimmy Chamberlin of the Smashing Pumpkins, Alessandro Cortini of Nine Inch Nails.

Affected users have been informed about the security breach in an email from the company:

Disappointingly, Reverb’s email does not underline the very real risk that scammers could use the exposed information to send out scam emails and phishing attacks to customers’ inboxes. It’s even possible that a scammer could use the breached details in an attempt to gather more personal information, and defraud a customer over the telephone.

Reverb says that it does not believe that passwords or payment details have been compromised, but does suggest that users change their passwords.

Actually it says “we recommend that you change your Reverb password on a regular basis.” That’s advice with which I actually have a certain level of discomfort. As I’ve written elsewhere

Enforcing regular password changes can often lead to folks choosing weaker passwords rather than strengthening their security.

When there are good reasons to change your passwords (such as a data breach), you should definitely do it.

So, I guess in Reverb’s case, as their lax behaviour appears to have caused a privacy breach (although seemingly not one related to login credentials) it may well be right to be cautious and change your password. But please make sure it is a strong password, that’s hard to crack, and not one that you are using anywhere else on the internet.

About the author


Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats.

Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.