Crowdfunding website Kickstarter sparked fears overnight of a possible security incident after the company sent unsolicited password reset emails to millions of users without prior explanation.
The emails, seen by TechCrunch, tells users that Kickstarter is “simplifying its login process” and urges users to “set a new password for your Kickstarter account.” The emails offered no further explanation as to why Kickstarter was asking users to reset their credentials and there is no mention of the mass password reset on Kickstarter’s website or social feeds.
When reached Wednesday, Kickstarter spokesperson Kate Bernyk told TechCrunch that the company was not breached. Rather, it was “promoting users to create a password if they hadn’t already set one,” such as those who created an account using their Facebook login only.
Bernyk said 10% of users, or about five million accounts, were sent password reset emails. Kickstarter currently has 50 million users, the spokesperson confirmed.
Several Kickstarter users speculated that the password reset emails themselves, though legitimate, were an attempt by attackers to steal their passwords. After all, it’s long been considered cybersecurity best practice to avoid asking people to click on password-related links in unsolicited emails, given it can be a sign that the account is compromised, and is a common tactic used in phishing attacks.
Data breach or not, perhaps the feedback Kickstarter received since sending these emails — including cyber-savvy users vowing not to click on the “suspicious looking” emails — will see Kickstarter, and others, rethink this strategy in the future.