Tom Ridge: Retailers in Tough Spot When Security Breached

Image: Tom Ridge: Retailers in Tough Spot When Security Breached

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 08:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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Retailers such as Michaels and Target, which have faced possible security breaches involving customer information recently, face a balancing act in letting customers know about the breach while they are still trying to fight it off, says former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Ridge, appearing on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Monday, said he is happy to see federal agencies working with retailers, but added they should be careful not to discourage retailers from sharing the information. Bad publicity could make them more likely to keep such information to themselves.

Howard Schmidt, a former White House cybersecurity adviser, told Cavuto that part of the problem is that such breaches are covered by 47 different state laws, and some of them conflict with each other. National chains such as Target, Michaels and Neiman Marcus have businesses in multiple states, so trying to follow a law in one state may cause them to break the law of another.

Ridge was not optimistic.

"Frankly, it's going to get worse and not better," he said, "not just in retail America, but in the digital forevermore."

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