Letter from the Chairman

In this issue we call for businesses and consumers to collaborate on issues of data security. Ondrej Krehel, our chief information security officer, examines the cyber risks faced by governments and corporations. He also tells businesses 10 surefire ways to get hacked. A CyberScout employee shares her own story of identity theft after her information was exposed in a breach. Learn what to do if you receive a breach notification letter in the mail.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Americans are becoming increasingly aware of their identity’s value as an asset. As the Federal Trade Commission tells us, information about consumers’ purchasing behavior, browsing habits, and other online and offline activity is being collected, analyzed, combined, used, shared and sold—often instantaneously and invisibly—every single day.

Unfortunately, each link in this chain of information exchange means one more opportunity for thieves to appropriate and misuse sensitive data for themselves. While that can lead to financial losses for both businesses and consumers, there is another loss to be considered—one that may be more difficult to repair: the consumer’s loss of trust in whatever business carelessly handled their personal and private information.

A consumer who asks how a breach happened next asks the sharper question: “Why didn’t you prevent it?” Whether that carelessness is real or perceived almost doesn’t matter. The result can be the same. He or she takes their business elsewhere.

Looking ahead, then, it’s clear that businesses must not only prioritize issues of privacy and security, but also develop stronger relationships with their customers—ones where mutual trust is in place from the outset. Among other things, business owners must find ways to be more transparent about whom they’re doing business with and how they’re safeguarding their customers’ information. Businesses also would do well to give consumers greater access and control of their own data profiles. When customers have the comfort that comes with being informed and involved, they will reward businesses with their confidence—and their dollars.

With October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, there’s no better time to consider these and other issues. In this month’s newsletter, one of our own, Kelly Colgan, describes what happened when she found herself stranded and without access to her accounts on a business trip to New York City—proof that in today’s digital era, everyone’s data is susceptible to a breach.

We’re also offering do’s and don’ts for people who receive notification that their personal information may have been compromised in a data breach.

Finally, Ondrej Krehel, our chief information security officer, takes a look at what’s happening on the national stage—and how cyber espionage poses a serious threat to corporate and government intellectual property.

As always, we hope you enjoy.

Adam K. Levin
Chairman and Founder, CyberScout

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If you need identity theft assistance, call your provider organization to be put in touch with the CyberScout Resolution Center. More information for individual consumers.