Letter from the CEO

In this issue we look back on 2011 as the year of the data breach and key developments in the privacy movement. Watch our slideshows to revisit the most prominent hacker attacks of the year and get the latest tips for holiday shopping online. Find out how we helped a small business owner protect his business accounts from identity thieves. And learn how the GPS tracking case before the U.S. Supreme Court could impact your company and customers.

Friday, December 09, 2011

The year 2011 will go down as the year of the data breach. And the worse news is, 2012 could top it.

From the CIA to video-game networks, from brand-name conglomerates to mom-and-pop shops, no sector of business, and no agency at any level of government, was immune to hack attacks. In what we now view as the good old days of weak IT security, you could count on the perpetrators being motivated only by money – stealing credit card numbers or other customer data so they could steal the identities of innocent victims.

This year, with so many political and social conflicts smoldering all over the world, the rise of the “hacktivist” took precedence over the mere money-grubbers. It wasn’t uncommon to see local law enforcement departments, public transport agencies and nonprofits attacked simply for their political views, or else to exploit their security vulnerabilities. Our experts anticipate these and traditional attacks to continue in the new year.

Now for the good news: Our December 2011 newsletter has a wealth of valuable information, starting with our Year in Review slideshow , which takes you through the hacks, month by month. As more organizations fell victim to attacks by hackers, news of data breaches seemed as frequent as celebrity wedding specials, with the victims' names nearly as well known. Sony. PBS. Facebook. Even the U.S. government and its military were hit. No one was immune.

This year also saw significant developments in the privacy movement. The Federal Trade Commission took its role as America’s privacy authority more seriously than ever—ending the year with a strong rebuke and 20-year privacy settlement with Facebook. A number of lawsuits made their way through the legal system, including one now before the U.S. Supreme Court on whether the government can track suspects using GPS without a warrant. Guest privacy expert Khizar Sheikh of Lowenstein Sandler PC explains how this decision could impact your company and customers.

Despite the risks of storing personal information on the Internet, more than one-third of Americans will do their holiday shopping online this year. Why waste time and gas shopping at the mall? It's faster and easier to simply turn on our laptops, pads or mobile devices. With increased convenience, however, comes increased risk. We’ve wrapped some tips into a slideshow that will help you stay safe while shopping online .

 

Finally, this month's podcast features customer Don Brown's disturbing credit nightmare, caused when thieves targeted his business account. From the discovery of an unauthorized wire transfer to change-of-address attempts, he shares his story and how IDT911 helped to stop the thieves in their tracks.

As always, we hope you enjoy. Have a happy, healthy holiday season.

Matt Cullina

Chief Executive Officer

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