A few months ago we discussed the various ways that consumer PII is compromised. The recent attacks against Target and Neiman Marcus illustrate the constant threat that payment card accepting retailers of all sizes face. Yesterday Reuters reported that similar breaches over the holidays affected “at least three other well-known U.S. retailers”. Given the current onslaught, it’s a good time for retailers to examine their detection capabilities before a payment card data attack, while creating new goals for shortening remediation windows during and after an attack.
Who are you? Removing the obvious existential questions for a minute, your identity is often represented as a bundle of personally identifiable information (PII). In the United States PII begins at birth with a name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). This morning’s KrebsOnSecurity post details the unauthorized access of computer systems (via malicious code) at Lexis Nexis and Dun & Bradstreeet. Both of these organizations aggregate and sell consumer and business PII.
When PII is misrepresented, the experience for the true PII owner can range from unsettling to pure exasperation due to the fact that the victim’s virtual identity must be reclaimed and a consistently proven remediation roadmap still does not fully exist. A recent survey estimated that in 2012 over 12 million Americans were the victims of identity theft.
Fortunately, in addition to the standard PII definition a majority of states –such as California’s Penal Code §530.55 - now include credit card numbers and even computer media access control (MAC) addresses. The comprehensive definition and accompanying legislation is giving law enforcement the ability to charge suspects with identity theft and aggravated identity theft, but individuals still need to be aware of the risks and respond accordingly.
Below are five realistic almost universal U.S.-centric identity theft risk factors followed by guidance on proactively saving you those precious resources – time and money.