Uninsured - Underinsured Information Highway Motorists

Author: Michael Peters
Published: November 18, 2011 at 6:57 am
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On the information freeway, the vast majority of the population is driving 90 miles per hour (144 KPH) without insurance; this includes business entities as well. In the United States, as in many other countries as well, the law dictates that a person possess a minimum level of automobile insurance to protect the financial stability of other drivers, their property and themselves in the event of a crash. Most people would not be able to afford the expenses associated with a crash should it occur. We all tend to dislike insurance, but are infinitely pleased when we have it in a time of catastrophe right?

When it comes to cyberspace crime, it is all about identities and intellectual property. The largest business segment for cyber-criminals to target identities is in the retail marketplace. You might be pondering right now “Michael, no way! Banks are where the real money is!” Think about this for a moment; just one credit card is used at dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of retail establishments from every part of the world right? When is the last time you heard about a security breach at a credit card issuer like Visa or MasterCard?  Citibank comes to mind, but no one else. When is the last time you heard about a security breach at a retailer? I’d run out of fingers and toes counting them off to you.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three quarters of all U.S. business firms are classified as small businesses (Source: U.S. Census Bureau). The likelihood of consumers like you, doing business with any one of these firms is significant. Now for the next big question I want you to consider. How many of these small businesses are required to comply with Payment Card Industry PCI security mandates? Technically all merchants are supposed to comply with these guidelines however, anyone processing less than 1 million transactions a year must only claim compliance which is not verified. Do you think the honor system, wink-wink, is going to be effective at protecting your identity from criminals? I say “criminal” instead of “cyber-criminal” because without effective and fundamental information security controls in place, data theft of your credit card information and personally identifying information is ripe for the picking by dishonest employees, dishonest support vendors and cyber-criminals alike. According to Visa Inc., small merchants account for over 80 percent of compromise events (Source: VISA Inc.). Hackers love small businesses because they are usually not well protected. Regardless of size, any organization that is not protected will be targeted by cyber-criminals.

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Article Author: Michael Peters

Michael D. Peters has been an independent information security consultant, executive, researcher, author, and catalyst with many years of information technology and business leadership experience. He has been referred to as the “Michelangelo of Security”. …

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