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Hello Kitty owner probes possible leak of shareholder data

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 13:56
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Sanrio Co, the Japanese owner of the Hello Kitty cartoon character, is investigating whether the data of more than 6,000 shareholders has been leaked.

[TOKYO] Sanrio Co, the Japanese owner of the Hello Kitty cartoon character, is investigating whether the data of more than 6,000 shareholders has been leaked.

The information may include the names, addresses and phone numbers of as many as 6,249 shareholders who participated in an online rewards program, the Tokyo-based retail and licensing company said in a statement Wednesday. Sanrio started investigating after learning that some participants in the program received investment offers from a third party who shouldn't have had access to their information.

The company has asked Investor Networks Inc, which operates the online service and manages personal data for the website, to look into what happened, the company said.

"Once we find out the cause, we will consider measures to build systems that intruders can't easily gain access to, or to limit the number of employees who have access to the data within the company," Sanrio managing director Susumu Emori said in a briefing during the midday trading break in Tokyo.

"I don't think this will have a big impact on earnings."

Sanrio's potential data leak shows how all companies - even one that licenses the rights to a cartoon cat - struggle to keep customer data and other confidential information out of the wrong hands. In recent months, companies including Sony Corp, Target Corp and Anthem Inc have disclosed high-profile system breaches.

Shares of the company were trading down 0.8 per cent to 3,265 yen as of 2:08 pm. They had earlier fallen 4.3 per cent, the biggest intraday drop since Jan 16.

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