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Wheedle makes password promise after privacy breach

04 Oct 12

Wheedle has reassured customers who signed up to its online website, insisting their passwords are safe after privacy fears.

The struggling online auction site, forced to close down indefinitely for repairs on Tuesday, emailed users claiming their private details were not at risk while promising an independent security audit before the site relaunches.

But such reassurances has failed to quash the concerns, as visitors question the way passwords were communicated in plain text in cookies.

Branded a cardinal sin by Institute of Information Technology Professionals chief executive Paul Matthews, Wheedle acknowledged the fears and promised a review.

Wheedle's managing director Carl Rees said the company was "exploring alternative ways to further increase password security" and insisted passwords were strongly encrypted in its database.

While the company aims to return "better, stronger and safer", it will be difficult to turnaround such a difficult week for the start-up firm, who have faced constant criticism for it's poor performance since Monday's launch.

Wheedle permanently closed online operations after a second day of maintenance trouble on Tuesday, posting:

“Due to unforeseen technical problems we have postponed further activity on the website. Thank you for all your support, it has been tremendous. We will be back soon.”

Further embarrassment in the industry came from their online advert for a web developer in India, describing itself as a "company enjoying strong growth."

To add further insult, a week after Trade Me founder Sam Morgan branded the site a "joke", the catch phrase "to Wheedle it" has become a popular term within the industry.

Taken from the common term “to Google it”, the new catchphrase in technology circles essentially means to badly cock-up a launch, with the site desperately hoping for a turnaround in the coming days.

After a week to forget, can Wheedle bounce back? Tell us your thoughts below