I'm going through withdrawal. I prefer to make online purchases, rather than go into a retail store, and I was feeling pretty comfortable there for a while -- until Target's data breach. The 40 million credit and debit card records stolen, along with 70 million bits of customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers, made me rethink online purchases.
Now I've gone back to paying with cash. Aside from putting millions in harm's way, can you imagine what continued data breaches could do to the online advertising and the manufacturing industries?
For more than a decade I've talked with execs at companies continually claiming this could not possibly happen to them, asking why anyone would want their company's data. Research firm IHS Technology published a whitepaper detailing how companies put their intellectual property and customer data at risk of security breaches and cyber attacks by increasingly opening their manufacturing facilities to wireless mobile communications.
Data breaches happen in the most unlikely places. Take Android mobile apps, for example. The National Security Administration managed to scrape data from Android apps, Google Maps and Angry Birds.
A National Retail Federation (NRF) ad running in the Washington, D.C.-based publications Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call titled "Hackers Don't Discriminate" lays out some data on security breaches. Only 24% of breaches occur at retail and restaurant companies, according to the 2013 investigation by Verizon analyzing more than 47,000 security breaches and 621 confirmed data breaches.
Cyber criminals target all business types. In fact, 38% of data breaches impact large organizations, with 37% affecting financial organizations; 20%, manufacturing, utilities and transportation; 20%, information professional services. The U.S. government is breached more than 60 times per day.
The NRF asserts through the campaign that retailers are only a part of the solution and that cyber theft is a crime only stopped by a united solution.