ITRC Data Breach Rise
2014 has been a big year for data breaches. An unprecedented number of corporate breaches have led to the exposure of sensitive consumer data, according to a recent survey from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

Let’s take a closer look. So far this year there have been a reported 636 data breaches, resulting in the exposure of 78,098,439 consumer records that include personally identifiable information. That’s an increase of 26.5 percent over the same time period last year. To put this in perspective, there were 614 breaches in all of 2013, according to ITRC records. (more…)

shutterstock_4467124By Gerri Detweiler

Is it OK to lie in order to protect your personal information online? Apparently plenty of people think so. In one survey, 22 percent of “savvy” 8- to 17-year-olds claim, “I don’t give out my details online, I make up fake ones,” according to Intersperience.

Creating an online persona can be one way to help protect yourself against the intrusions of a hyper-connected world. (more…)


By Christine DiGangi

More than 530,000 taxpayers with identity theft indicators on their tax accounts were not issued identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PINs) for filing their 2013 taxes, according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The IRS provides IP PINs to identity theft victims as a security measure aimed at stopping thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns. The IRS lost $5.2 billion to identity theft-related tax fraud last year.

Identity theft victims also face longer refund-processing times, but filing with an IP PIN allows the IRS to more quickly process the return and get refunds to taxpayers. Without IP PINs, those taxpayers with identity theft indicators on their accounts may have faced delays receiving their refunds.


It’s easy to get alarmed about the many invasions to our privacy. Yet often, we’re willing to sacrifice it for convenience. For a quick snapshot of consumer attitudes about this ever-growing conflict, check out the latest infographic based on a survey of 15,000 respondent in 15 countries for the 2014 EMC Privacy Index.


Imagine you've just had your information exposed in the latest data breach. You've already received a data breach notification letter from the company where the security incident occurred, but now you're suddenly sent an email seemingly from the same firm saying you need to verify your personal or financial information. You may suspect there's something fishy about this email and you're probably right.

When you've become affected by a data breach or think you have, this kind of scam claiming you need to give away your sensitive information is widespread, especially after companies confirm a cyberintrusion. Be careful about these and other kinds of scams that could lead to identity theft and endanger your data security even more. 

Here are three ways scammers might try to trick you after a breach:

1. Sending Phishing Emails
As described above, cybercriminals try to extract information from you in order…

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, consumers will be hitting stores and online retailers to get a head start on buying gifts. During Black Friday, shoppers are naturally on the hunt for deals. However, it's also a great time for scammers and cybercriminals. Last year during Black Friday weekend, Target had a breach that exposed 110 million customer records. Target stores had their point-of-sale systems infected with malware designed to steal this information and send it to servers abroad.

A recent survey by revealed almost half of consumers would avoid shopping at stores that had a data breach. Since there has been a string of breaches affecting retailers leading up to the holiday season, consumers should be more careful about protecting their payment cards.

Here are five tips to protect your card and prevent fraud this Black Friday:

1. Avoid Deals Too Good to Be…

One year after a breach at one of the nation's major federal agencies, it seems that cybercriminals may still be able to access sensitive information, according to Health IT Security. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has key security flaws in its systems that could make it vulnerable to cyberintrusions, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The federal watchdog said data breaches experienced by the FDA could lead to exposure of FDA data or unauthorized changes to this information. A cyberattack on the agency's systems could have also made information not available. 

The cyberattacks in the health care industry have garnered the attention of both the public and private sectors, as the findings of the report showcase that the FDA still has vulnerabilities that could put consumer and even corporate information at risk. On October 2013, a data breach…

President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order aimed at improving security for consumer information, The Washington Post reported. This move signals the Obama administration's support for the fight against cyber-related breaches in the public sector. Recent data breaches have worsened consumer concerns over the lack of security surrounding payment systems.

Now, the president's order would strengthen security by requiring government agencies that oversee payment card transactions use more effective technology, including chip and PIN cards instead of regular payment cards with magnetic strips, making it harder for criminals to copy credit or debit card information.

Obama issued a strong statement against the fraud and financial impacts affecting consumers due to identity theft and data breaches. 

"The idea that somebody halfway around the world could run up thousands of dollars in charges in your name just because they stole your number or because you swiped your card at…

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Grinch might not be the only one trying to steal Christmas. The surge in cyberattacks could bring down the typical optimism exhibited by retailers during this time of year, especially as companies hard hit by past data breaches try to cope with security concerns. 

Firms like eBay and Target, which were both scrutinized by the media for their widespread data breaches, are looking to recover from these incidents this holiday season. In 2013, Target discovered it was the victim of a malware attack affecting its point of sale systems at stores throughout the country right in the middle of the busiest shopping period of the year. The attack resulted in the exposure of 110 million records, with financial records accounting for 40 million. 

Like Target, eBay faces potential profit losses as a result of its systems being compromised. Recently, eBay said…

When a company confirms a data breach, this security event can cause ripples in the economy. Not only do the companies that experience the breach have to content with its financial impact, but the payment industry tied to these firms is also particularly hit hard. Facing huge monetary losses from cyberattacks that exposed millions of customers' information, banks and other financial institutions are now guarding against the impact of identity theft and data breaches with the help of biometrics, The Associated Press reported

As cybercriminals are infiltrating sensitive corporate systems and using both high- and low-tech methods for identity theft, banks are now ramping up their use of technological solutions like biometrics to fight fire with fire. The AP report highlighted the growing use of speaker recognition among banks to detect fraudsters and protect consumers. 

The software developed by anti-fraud companies can screen callers during calls…