Epsilon Security Breach: Part One

The cyber attack on Dallas-based Epsilon is shaping up to be one of the largest identity-theft cases in U.S. history. Such attacks are putting more pressure than ever on companies to keep the marketing firms they employ on a tight leash. Andrew Schneider reports.

mouse securityRon Hardy is vice president of product management and marketing at Houston-based NetIQ. Hardy says the trend of companies outsourcing their marketing functions to firms such as Epsilon is growing.

“Unfortunately, what that does outsource control of the customer information but doesn’t abdicate responsibility for the protection of their customer information.”

Hardy says that credit card companies and health care providers are taking the lead in demanding stricter data protection.

“They don’t wait for a breach. You actually have to pass these accreditations on an annual basis, or you lose certain rights to use those credit cards or to participate in health care information networks, etc.”

The cyber attack on Epsilon may be the largest in U.S. history in terms of sheer volume of data stolen. But will probably prove less costly than the 2008 assault on credit- and debit-card processor Heartland Payment Systems. That case saw the theft of more than 40 million payment card numbers. The hackers that broke into Epsilon’s systems stole only names and e-mail addresses.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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