This is just ridiculous.
Two more corporations — health insurer Anthem and Intuit, the maker of TurboTax — have shown themselves inept at protecting customer data.
At Anthem, hackers swiped the data, and even Social Security numbers, of 80 million customers. Anthem reportedly hadn’t even encrypted the information. At TurboTax, a data breach has allowed the filing of fraudulent tax returns.
Cyberattackers have struck Sony, Target, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, eBay, T.J.Maxx, Experian, Evernote, Domino’s, P.F. Chang’s, Global Payment Systems, Zappos, Adobe Systems, Neiman Marcus, Yahoo, Kmart, Staples and many more.
Here’s a cool visualization of breaches in 2014.
A report by the Identity Theft Resource Center sponsored by the computer security firm IDT911 said that last year the U.S. tracked a record 783 breaches, up 27.5 percent from 2013.
We have this wonderful thing — the Internet — that has tremendously benefited corporations, making it easier for them to do business, sell stuff to us and make money. Yet too many CEOs and chief information officers don’t ensure our information is secure. Servers are left unprotected, passwords are too easily stolen and data aren’t being encrypted.
Many of the breaches so far involve credit card transactions, which the U.S. financial system overall has been slow to protect with more secure chip cards like those used in Europe. But we should also start worrying now, experts say, about the new activity and health apps that track sensitive personal information and habits. And about the coming generation of smart cars that will talk to one another.
Automakers insist data transmissions will be secure, but a report this week by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts said security steps to stop remote access to vehicle electronics are “inconsistent and haphazard across all automobile manufacturers.”
More could be at stake here than privacy rights or mere commerce. Say hackers from an unfriendly country or terrorists damaged a big U.S. bank so severely it couldn’t cash our checks. Could such corporate carelessness lead to a hot war?
Basic security has to start with companies, but the federal government also has to do more to fend off cyberattacks on businesses and, for instance, the electrical grid. And to protect itself.
With its own cybersnooping, government certainly isn’t building much trust here. But on Tuesday the administration announced the creation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to coordinate our cyberdefenses.
The tech world, too, should be doing more. Our computer wizards are rushing whizbang software out the door that isn’t secure. Or they’re focused on getting rich from inventing games and smartphone apps.
Some suggest they should instead create a super-secure Internet channel that runs on top of the regular Internet. It would be nice to conduct business over the Internet without that nagging worry about security.
Whoever solves this problem will go down in history.