Warner Bros. Inc. suffered a computer security breach last week, leading to the theft of an e-mail newsletter mailing list. The computer cracker then sent bulk unsolicited e-mail messages -- spam -- to the subscribers, promoting a multilevel marketing scheme.
A company spokesman categorized the attack as "a serious but small breach," but declined to say how many subscribers were affected. The e-mail newsletter is related to one of the company's TV shows, but the spokesman declined to publicly identify the show.
Subscribers received an e-mail with the subject line "Five Is The Key To My Freedom, It Could Be Yours ... " The multilevel marketing "spam" e-mail -- already ubiquitous for e-mail users -- invites people to buy "Secret to Multilevel Marketing on the Net" and then spam other Net users with the same e-mail.
"As soon as we found out about it, we sent out a letter to those on the mailing list," said Scott Rowe, vice president of corporate communications for Warner Bros. "Our priority was to alert newsletter recipients that this was unauthorized and was in no way affiliated with Warner Bros."