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Why someone else’s data breach affects you

On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service announced reported a huge data breach involving personal information stolen from 750,000 employees and retirees, and compromised data of 2.9 million postal service customers. This hack attack is the latest in this year’s string of cyberattacks involving a slew of retailers and more recently, even five-star hotels.

Cyber crime is one of the biggest threats facing companies today.  Its ramifications, such as stolen data and identity theft, are enormous and will only continue to grow.

The rippling consequences of cyber crime

What makes cyber crime particularly destructive is that it is borderless, and can cause a ripple effect.  A cyber attack can span multiple industries, with the potential to affect even resilient companies that are uninvolved in a particular incident. Even if only a single company is attacked, the public will often associate an entire industry with the incident and the potential for similar companies or competitors to be vulnerable.

One of the primary dangers from identity theft is often a loss of trust. Credit cards are a recurring example of such vulnerable social exchanges.  In the instance of a credit transaction, a customer voluntarily provides information to a credit card company, who in turn vouches to sellers (i.e., stores) that the customer can be trusted.  The seller accepts this validation and provides the sought after product or service, usually in seconds. The credit card company trusts the seller to protect the customer’s personal information, and trusts the customer to eventually reconcile debts owed.  The customer entrusts the seller and the credit card company with various personal information, with the expectation that the product or service will be delivered upon payment.  This entire transaction is fundamentally based on trust.

What happens, however, when this trust is broken? Read our full article in Continuity Insights.

data breach
Data breach