Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercrime: protect your data

Date: January 15, 2006
By: Roy Mark

A new year and an old story: Americans fall prey to data theft. A new year and another old story: Congress does nothing about it, not even requiring companies to inform consumers of the breaches.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 2005 saw more than 100 reported breaches involving the personal data of more than 50 million Americans. Most of the breaches occurred after Congress got riled at ChoicePoint in February and swore action to protect consumers.

This year, although barely two weeks old, ID thieves are already off to a rousing start. Breaches have already been reported at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, H&R Block and the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas.

In the absence of action by Congress, the Atlantis breach represents a new, more ominous threat: data breaches on foreign soil. While details of the breach are still sketchy, more than 50,000 personal records are in ID thieves' hands, including names, addresses, credit card numbers, driver's license numbers and bank account data.

"It was frightening enough for American consumers when major corporate database breaches here at home started exposing the potential vulnerability of their personal information," said Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA).

With the Atlantis breach, Kurtz said, "It's all the more important that we get our own house in order and move on to improving international law enforcement cooperation."

To Atlantis' credit, the hotel is informing the affected customers of the breach, although it is under no legal obligation to do so. Nor are Bahamian law enforcement officials bound under any international laws to cooperate with the United States.

It doesn't have to be that way.
Original article

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo