Daily Data Breaches
Many times after we run a story, Security Fix readers write in to tell us about related incidents. This morning I received an e-mail from a Virginia woman who was recently notified by her mortgage company that it had somehow lost track of a backup tape containing the names, account information, payment history and Social Security numbers of more than 2 million customers.
The company -- Troy, Mich.-based ABN-AMRO Mortgage -- said the tape was lost while being transported by a DHL courier en route to credit reporting company Experian.
I hadn't heard of this breach, but a Google News search turned up about a dozen stories from last week, a few from the bigger news sources like Reuters and MSNBC, but most from smaller, local news organizations. It struck me that had this happened a year ago, we probably would have seen quite a bit more coverage.
But take a quick look at the data breaches so far this year over at PrivacyRights.org and it becomes clear that our society is becoming inured to this type of news. According to that site, this year alone data on nearly 54 million Americans were exposed in nearly 100 incidents of hacking, lost laptops and backup tapes, and inside jobs. And those are just the incidents that have been disclosed.
It is worth mentioning that the woman who brought this latest breach to my attention said she tried to check her credit with TransUnion's TrueCredit.com site but found it was unavailable at the time. The site appears to be up as of this writing, but strangely enough I experienced a similar problem while trying to visit it recently.
I hope the credit reporting agencies are dedicating sufficient resources to making sure these sites remain available. The woman I spoke with was quite upset at the news from her mortgage company, and was even more alarmed when she couldn't get to the site that the letter she received instructed her to visit.
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