Recently the Paul Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey announced the indictments of four Russians and a Ukrainian for the biggest data breach in American history. The five men were charged with hacking into the computer networks of more than a dozen major American corporations including Visa, JC Penney, 7-Eleven, and JetBlue. They also hacked into Heartland Payments Systems, which is one of the world’s largest credit and debit card processing companies. Once they hacked into these companies’ computers they were able to steal personal information including names, passwords, credit card numbers and debit card numbers. The cost of the hacking has run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The interconnectedness of companies and credit card processors for those companies is both a convenience to the public and a threat because once the security of that network is breached at its weakest point, which is often at the point of a credit card transaction, the identity stealing hacker is able to exploit small vulnerabilities in the system to access wider and wider data banks. Corporate America still has not taken the necessary security steps to protect the privacy of the data that it routinely collects and we all are paying the price for their lack of sufficient action.