While the Secret Service is launching an investigation into the latest US retailer data breach from Michaels Stores, a bigger hats off for revealing the breach goes elsewhere. Brian Krebs, the security blogger and former Washington Post reporter – has alerted the public previously when a breach is suspected, prior to official press notices from the retailers. In light of Krebs’ alert, it seems only then do retailers become public about activities occurring on accounts – including investigations. Krebs was also the same person who publicly detailed, and updated the public on the data breach information for Target and Neiman Marcus.
In every media outlet, there is a line of consistency when it comes to how the public became known to the hack, and more importantly why. In the latest potential breach for Michaels, Krebs states he has sources that alert him when a tracking pattern is located. Reportedly, there was a pattern found on credit cards used within Michael Stores Inc. This information lead Krebs to contact the public relations company for the large craft store. While Michaels finally listed a statement of the ongoing investigation Saturday morning, it came a day after Krebs probed the company.
In addition to Michaels, when the massive Target data breach took place, it was once again security blogger, Krebs who took note. On Dec. 13 the blogger took to his site to detail the murmur stemming from sources regarding multi-millions of Target customers breached. It was not until six days later, Target released a statement confirming the breach. The Target breach has been mountainous, where credit card numbers, pin numbers and more have inundated the cyber black markets. Krebs also touched on his sources who advised of Neiman Marcus customers who may had been victims of data lifting. The information only makes customers wonder how many more retailers may had been attacked?
Sadly, Krebs’ sources indicated the breach did not start with Michaels in selected locations, rather the breach seems widespread, like Target. TransUnion released the power of knowledge facts to help consumers realize the importance of safe-guarding their information. Per their report, there are nearly 10 million cases a year of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission. That means for every one minute, 19 people become victims. Identity theft has ruined lives, credit histories and the ability to advance in life for many.
The minute the public is alerted by a breach, consumers may need to hit the ground running. Cancel all cards used and ask credit companies for a new number and new card. Closing any attached debit, checking accounts for new information can prevent information from being stolen. In extreme cases where identity theft is occurring, the Social Security Administration will review re-issuing consumers a brand new social security number.
Identity theft and the aspect of data breach is scary. Consumers should report any thefts to the Federal Trade Commission, additionally contact tax authorities to alert of the fraud. A flag can be placed on the tax account – many thieves can sell or use information to file a false tax return for a huge refund. That could be another nightmare unknown. If the data breach occurred online and a consumer becomes a victim, the Internet Crime Complaint Center can assist. Furthermore, individuals should check their credit report annually. Each consumer receives one free credit report each year.
Michaels is the newest, potential target of a large-scale data breach attack. Currently, the company has not revealed the amount of potential customers affected and when it is possible it happened. Krebs, the security blogger alerted the public to this information, prior to Michaels releasing a statement. The same security expert that has revealed Target and gave a heads-up on Neiman Marcus. Retailers must take ownership of a flaw of this magnitude, and be willing to share it immediately with the public to avoid losing a much larger share of consumer trust.