Perhaps the most critical thing bankers have learned from the breach at Epsilon, the email marketing unit of Alliance Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, is that there is no such thing as "low-value" information anymore. All stolen information is worth its virtual weight in gold.

Armed with email addresses and bank affiliations, hackers in the months to come are likely to use the information to create not only the highly targeted spear-phishing campaigns that many have predicted — they will also use it to construct more sophisticated assaults on higher-value corporate accounts and to infect corporate networks.

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