Cybercrime thrives amid lack of national data security standards for retailers

by. B. Dan Berger

Six months ago, the nation first learned of what is one of the largest breaches of consumer data in American history when news broke of a massive data breach at Target stores during the holiday shopping season. In the time since, the absence of action to create national data security standards for retailers has allowed cybercriminals to enjoy an open season on consumer data. Unfortunately, both consumers and their financial institutions, like credit unions, are paying the price.

Six months after the Target data breach, the statistics are staggering:

• Since Target’s data breach, there has been a major data breach discovered almost every month, with breaches reported at Michaels Stores, Sally Beauty Supply, Neiman Marcus, AOL, eBay, and P.F Chang’s Chinese Bistro.
• Based on a recent Ponemon Institute survey, an estimated 47 percent of all American adults have been affected by data breaches over the last year, with an estimated 432 million online accounts being affected.
• According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were more than 600 reported data breaches in 2013 – a 30 percent increase over 2012.
• A recent Javelin Strategy & Research report (December 2013) found that financial institutions are doing a much better job than retailers when it comes to credit card security.

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