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June 10, 2011

  • News:  Citi Criticized For Breach Handling 

    Citibank, one of the U.S. top four credit card companies has been receiving criticism pertaining to the manner in which they handled the release of information relating to its recent computer hacking incident. Credit cardholders first became aware of the security breach when the Financial Times release its breaking story on Wednesday. Citibank officials discovered that their computer system had been hacked into sometime in early May; however, the company had failed to report that a possible 200,000 credit cardholders accounts have been compromised.

    Dan Mitchell of CNNMoney said it's time for all companies including credit card companies to step up to the plate in facing possible "exposures to its systems" as he alluded to Citi following suit with Sony who failed to notify its PlayStation Network users of its security breach in a timely fashion. In his report, Mitchell noted a growing concern that companies are increasingly becoming more laxed in reporting data breaches in a timely fashion. He refers to is as "a disturbingly familiar pattern." Another example of the increasing delay in notifying the public of a data breach in a timely fashion is the Michael's Craft stores breach whereby it was three months before debit and credit card customers became aware of the breach.

    According to Citibank, only about 1 percent of its 21 million North American credit cardholders were affected by the recent breach. Cardholders' names, account numbers and email addresses were among the data stolen by the cyber criminals. The company said that it has already replaced approximately 100,000 card customers. There is some controversy over whether or not any debit card data was stolen. Although Citi denied that any debit cards were involved, the Financial Times reported that their investigation revealed that some debit card accounts had been compromised. It also noted that the victims said they were not notified by Citi and did not find out that their accounts had been compromised until they attempted to use their cards.

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