The Social Security Administration sold the information in a database of deceased individuals that erroneous contained the Social Security numbers, dates of birth, full names and ZIP codes of living people, the inspector general reports.
When it comes to e-marketing and the reliance on third parties such as Epsilon, Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University says banks and merchants should "come clean" about the information they share with outside entities.
Communicating with customers about the incident and warning them not to click links in phishing e-mails are all these impacted institutions and companies really can do, says Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer of WhiteHat Security.
Privacy Attorney Lisa Sotto says the Epsilon e-mail breach is a warning about the state of data security employed by some third-party service providers. Strong contracts related to security practices must be the norm, not the exception.
"It is the biggest breach we have ever seen; and to say no financial information has been stolen is, well, understating the massive breach and concern," says Neil Schwartzman, founder and chief security specialist at CASL Consulting.
Australia's government agencies can learn a lot from the nation's banks, when it comes to risk management and protecting privacy, says Graham Ingram, General Manager of the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team. "There are too many people in government organisations who are in denial [of risks]," he says.
When a database breach occurs, consumer notification continues to be a public problem, and it's time for the federal government to step in, says Linda Foley, co-founder of the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center.
Fraud attempts will escalate, not diminish, as new threats and channels blossom in 2011. Growth in mobile banking and the use of social networks are expected to pose new security challenges, experts say.
Electronic communication is at the heart of every organization, but one compromised e-mail can damage your corporate brand, compromise intellectual property or put you in non-compliance with laws and industry regulations. Privacy concerns, regulatory compliance, and corporate guidelines all need to be factored into...