Citibank data breach fuels cybercrime concerns
11. June 2011
This month has definitely been a hard time on computer security experts due to the number of high profile database hijack and personal information hack that has taken place. The notable victims where bigwig information technology companies like Sony and Google, not forgetting the prominent American airline group, Lockheed Martin. But it as surprising it may sound, in spite of the US enforcing stricter cyber crime policies and the country being on high alert, there were reports of Citibank in New york branch being the latest victim, of a cyber hack attack.
The Citibank in New york had reported to serve at least 21 million customers, but a relatively small amount of 200000 people or 1 percent of the total customer base, had been the victims of the hack attack. The hackers had allegedly taken a sneak peak at the important financial information, like bank account numbers and credit card information, of the unsuspecting customers. But according to the official spokesperson, even though there were no reports of more important data like social security number being stolen, the bank is trying hard to fix the damage caused by the data breach, as bank account numbers can be a deadly valuable weapon against the account holder, if it comes in the wrong hands.
According to Shelia Bair, the chairman of the Federal deposit insurance corporation, many federal regulators will now push hard against the banks, in order to make new rules and policies regarding the operations of their enterprise. Since the motives of the hackers where not really known, the investigating officials are confused whether this data hack had a monetary motive or it was simply done for revenge or mischief. But nevertheless, investigations are in progress and the bank is attempting to speak with the consumers and settle this problem with them.
Susan Grant, the consumer safety director at the Consumer federation of America, has warned other banks that just because the hackers did not gain much from this attack, any personal ID is valuable and can be used against the particular person. Citibank and other important banks should take Grant’s advice seriously and start beefing up their bank regulation and cyber security, as soon as possible.
This attack is bound to cause more strain trust by the already paranoid public, when it comes to relatively risky banking like banking over the internet or mobile banking. This will mean that many public banks will see a slight drop on their share prices, and the worst is yet to come, if there are any more cyber attacks.