The database containing details of over 250,000 entrants for Simon Cowell's "X Factor" has been compromised in an unauthorized network intrusion event.
The system breach is reported to be under investigation by the FBI.
The exposed data includes potential contestant's names, email addresses, contact information, dates of birth, and their gender, and assurances have been made that no financial data was compromised.
The Fox Network has already notified those whose data is suspected of being compromised in the breach, issuing the following email:
This week, we learned that computer hackers illegally accessed information and others submitted to us to receive information about The X Factor auditions.
It is possible that the information you did provide to us, which included your name, email address, zip code, phone number (which was optional), date of birth, and gender, may have been accessed.
We are taking this matter very seriously and are working with federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this illegal action.
The X Factor will never ask you to email personal information such as financial data, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or the user name or passwords you use to access other websites.
If you receive an email that appears to be from Fox.com or The X Factor asking for personal information, please delete it, as it did not come from us.
Adding to the potential controversy over the X Factor breach is the knowledge that a significant number of applicants are minors.
X Factor recently changed the requirements to qualify for the televised contests, allowing children as young as 12 years old to enter for a chance to compete.