Amazon data breach exposes customer names, emails

NEW YORK — Amazon said a technical error on its website exposed the names and email addresses of some customers. The online retail giant its website and systems weren't hacked. "We have fixed the issue and informed customers who may have been impacted," said an Amazon spokesperson.

An Amazon spokesman didn't answer additional questions, like how many people were affected or whether any of the information was stolen.

Avivah Litan, a senior analyst at Gartner, said bad actors can use email addresses for what's known as phishing: contacting people by email and trying to trick them into providing additional sensitive information, like their passwords or Social Security numbers.

The disclosure from Amazon comes as it gears up for the busy holiday shopping season. The Seattle-based company is expected to grab as much as half of all online sales by the end of this year, according to Bain & Co.

Amazon shares closed higher today, up 1.4 percent to $1,516.73. The price was down 0.2 quarter percent in after-hours trading around 5:25 p.m. ET.