Tags: Fox | Target | security | breach

Marketing Exec: Target Breach Is Just 'Tip of the Iceberg'

Friday, 27 Dec 2013 07:19 AM

By Michael Kling

Target's security breach that compromised 40 million credit card accounts is just the "tip of the iceberg" of huge amounts of sensitive financial information that's there for the taking, warns John Fox, founder of B2B marketing firm Venture Marketing.

And criminals don't need the Internet or hacking skills to access that data, Fox writes in an article for The Huffington Post.

In fact, most security breaches are done through equipment that's not connected to a network, he says. Stealing that personal data is much easier and much more widespread than people think.

Editor’s Note:
Retired Americans Slammed by Obama’s Redistribution Plans

Sensitive data of employees, including Social Security numbers, birth dates and maiden names, are frequently stored in company computers and in "the cloud" on shared hard drives. Even after employees leave the firms, their personal data as well as propriety company information probably remains on their PCs.

And when employees upgrade to new computers, sensitive data remains on old PCs, which are typically donated to charity, sold or thrown away. Deleting files doesn't wipe the drive clean, Fox points out.

Business owners are legally responsible for protecting sensitive information and can be held liable, he warns.

Their employees have the right to know their employer's data security policy, Fox notes, citing Rocco D'Amico, president of data security firm Brass Valley. And if they don't have a policy, they should get one.

In addition, companies should vet whoever is receiving their old equipment, Fox advises.

"They must be able to prove (with electronic or video records) what they did to dispose or recycle your equipment as opposed to just saying it. The golden question to ask is: What's going to happen when something goes wrong?"

Employees routinely and unintentionally put sensitive data at risk by circumventing their company's IT controls, reports CIO.

Many open sensitive data in mobile apps and upload sensitive data to cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud.

"Consumer file-sharing and synchronization services such as Dropbox are appealing to business users because they are accessible and convenient. However, it's those same attributes that make them a security concern for CIOs and IT professionals," says Fiberlink information security officer David Lingenfelter.

In addition, many employees put sensitive data on their personal tablets, phones or thumb drives, without realizing the information should be deleted, according to CIO, citing a survey by Symantec.

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