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The Reach of a Breach

It comes as no surprise that the CEO of Target has resigned in the wake of their massive data breach

It comes as no surprise that the CEO of Target has resigned in the wake of their massive data breach. The 2nd executive, if I remember correctly, to resign due to the mishap. Data breaches are costly according to the most recent Ponemon 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study: United States and the main reason for the steep increase in costs is ‘the loss of customers following the data breach due to additional expenses required to preserve the organization’s brand and reputation.’ The cost of each lost or stolen record, on average, increased from $188 to $201 per record from 2012 to 2013 – a 9% increase.

But that’s not all, In 2013, there appeared to be ‘an abnormal churn rate’ of 15% of customers abandoning companies, especially those in financial services, hit by a breach says Ponemon. I’m always curious about that. I usually avoid stores that have been recently compromised wondering if something is lingering yet think, they gotta be on high alert, especially with law enforcement involved. Maybe it’s as safe as it ever will be.

A recent Courion survey of IT security executives showed that 78% of respondents say they’re anxious about the possibility of a data breach at their organization. If there were a massive security breach at these companies, 58.8% said ‘protecting the privacy of our customers’ would be top priority and 62.7% would lament about ‘negative publicity affecting the company brand’ due to the breach. Maybe that’s the problem. They’re more worried about their image than they are of protecting our info. It’s the 58.8% you want to shop at.

Reaching for more, Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), Volume 19, shows a big change in cybercriminal habits, revealing the bad guys are plotting for months before pulling off the huge heists – instead of popping quick hits with smaller bounty. One big is worth fifty small. In 2013, there was a 62% uptick in the number of data breaches exposing more than 552 million identities. That’s about 10% of the planet’s population, give-or-take.

And finally, there have been a few companies that have gone out of business due to a leakage but a few months ago a data breach also closed some Seattle area Catholic schools. According to the Seattle Archdiocese, at least three Roman Catholic parishes and the Archdiocese’s chancery offices had been targeted by a tax-fraud scheme. In order to allow those who were victims time to contact the appropriate institutions during school hours, they cancelled classes. How’s that for reach.

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.