Photo: AP

CAPE TOWN – Computer technology company Dell has announced in a press statement that it has detected unauthorised activity on its network attempting to extract customer information, which was limited to names, email addresses and hashed passwords.

According to the company, it happened earlier this month on November 9.

"Though it is possible some of this information was removed from Dell’s network, our investigations found no conclusive evidence that any was extracted", said the company in a statement. 

"Upon detection of the attempted extraction, Dell immediately implemented countermeasures and initiated an investigation. Dell also retained a digital forensics firm to conduct an independent investigation and has engaged law enforcement."

The company also stated that credit card information was not impacted.

Dell said that it hired a digital forensics firm, involved the authorities, and took the precautionary measure of resetting all customer passwords.

 It is also recommending that if your Dell password is the same or similar to what you use on other websites, then you should change it with those services as well.

In an interview with CNET, The company said: “Since this is a voluntary disclosure, and there is no conclusive evidence that customer account information was extracted, it would be imprudent to publish potential numbers when there may be none.”

Here are tips Dell has given when creating a secure password:

  • Passwords should contain a minimum of 8 characters, using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and at least one number.
  • Don’t use any words that can be associated with you such as a family name or address
  • Choose a reminder sentence about your life and create a password as the first letter of each word, so “I drink 2 cups of Tea With Honey every day!” becomes “id2coTWHed!” (Customers should not use this same example)
  • Keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to use the same password across multiple sites