A number of consumers have received emails from Amazon telling them that their passwords had been changed for security reasons, according to ZDNet. The email explained that their passwords "may have been improperly stored on [their] device or transmitted to Amazon in a way that could potentially expose it to a third party." While Amazon said it didn't believe any information was actually transmitted to a third party, it reset the passwords as a precaution.
Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment, and it is unclear how many consumers have been affected by this password reset.
Nonetheless, any security issue has the potential to disrupt regular site activity, and no company would want to experience such a disruption right ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
"If it's widespread, that could be an issue," said Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy. "We saw what happened with eBay (EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report when they forced people to change passwords." Hottovy was referring to a 2014 hack that forced eBay users to reset their passwords, leading to a long-term impact on eBay's user base.
But while eBay felt a lasting impact from the password reset, Amazon likely won't have similar problems, Hottovy said.
"Amazon has consumers so tied to their ecosystem and consumers are dependent on Amazon not just for holiday gifts but for everyday products," he said. "It's a risk, but the difference here is so many consumers, [because of] Prime or Subscribe and Save, would be more willing to change the password and keep going."