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LivingSocial cyber-attack could affect 50 million customers

LivingSocial says its website was hacked, possibly compromising names, e-mail addresses, even passwords. But LivingSocial says credit-card information not affected by the cyber-attack. 

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A LivingSocial volunteer helps lunch-goers redeem their Dollar Lunch Day Instant Deals at Picnic in New York City in 2011. On Friday, the deals website said it had been hacked, possibly compromising the accounts of more than 50 million users.

Ross Mantle/AP/File

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Online deals service LivingSocial said Friday that its website was hacked, and the personal data of more than 50 million customers may have been affected.

The company said customers' names, email addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords may have been compromised by the cyberattack. But it said the database that stores customer credit-card information was not accessed or affected.

The Washington, D.C-based company said it was working with law enforcement officials to investigate the attack and was contacting customers in nearly all of the countries where it operates.

A banner on its website Friday evening read: "important notice for customers. If you haven't already updated your LivingSocial password, please update it now."

In an email to customers, company CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy requested that users reset their passwords, and he reminded them to disregard any emails claiming to be from LivingSocial that seek personal or account information.

"The security of your information is our priority," he wrote. "We always strive to ensure the security of our customer information, and we are redoubling efforts to prevent any issues in the future."

The company did not immediately explain how the hacking occurred, except to describe it as a cyberattack that "resulted in unauthorized access to some customer data from our servers."

It's the latest bad news for LivingSocial, which offers deals on everything from restaurants to spa sessions. Last November, the company announced it was cutting 400 jobs worldwide, or about 9 percent of its workforce, as the deals marked continued to face challenges.

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In recent years, online deals have gone from fad to a much-copied business model that's easy to set up but difficult to sustain. LivingSocial is one of the largest of the online deals companies.

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