Guest Post by Jason Knapfel
You may have heard rumors of data security breaches. However, some of them were very real. That’s why you stay on top of your own digital security. You’re vigilant when it comes to how you store and share your documents. You make sure you take your sensitive documents to a shredding service. Unfortunately, others haven’t been so lucky. You can learn from their mistakes, or simply get a reminder of how important data security is.
In October 2012, the Nationwide Mutual Insurance admitted that 1.1 million people were exposed to potential identity fraud. Needless to say, the company is expecting a slew of civil lawsuits.
The network is also shared with Allied Insurance, but there’s no report of a security breach from that company. Customers’ information was stolen including Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver’s license numbers. I
dentity theft can take years to correct, and it’s still too soon to know how many victims there were. The company is still individually contacting the victims.
The California Department of Insurance has reviewed the company’s security measures, and has considered them “acceptable.” This isn’t very comforting to the clients, or anyone else for that matter.
It’s in every company’s best interest to protect data, since big payouts are likely with this kind of civil suit.
In December 2012, an employee of BAE Systems (a British multinational defense company) leaked sensitive information. The employee had access to the UK’s Defence Department network and told a co-worker about confidential information that gave the company an advantage over the competition. An army communications project was up for bid, and the employee seemed to be making sure BAE got it. The employee has been fired, but BAE has chosen not to bid on the project at all. It’s a big project that BAE is missing out on, and just one example of how easy it can be for employees to abuse the system. This particular employee was caught. There must be countless others in companies around the world who aren’t.
Is Anywhere Safe?
University of Georgia recently underwent its own security breach in 2012. The university’s system, MyID, was hacked by a single person—a former student. When police identified Charles Stapler Stell, he was already deceased. Stell had committed suicide, and police don’t believe the information has been passed onto anyone else.
Government agencies also depend on companies to keep information secure.
The Los Angeles Fire Department’s records were also breached in 2012, and so far 26 patients have turned into victims. This breach was caused by an employee, who’s been identified as a player in a massive identity theft ring.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s important that you put your client’s security first. Obviously, there are never any guarantees.
Jason Knapfel manages web content for Accu NW, a Records and Information Management (RIM) company based in Gresham, Oregon. The company offers everything from secure document shredding to cloud computing services.