Citigroup latest Internet-based Data Breach Victim

Citibank Data Breach

Citi data-theft on Thursday with 200,000 credit card holders’ personal information getting leaked has made Citigroup the latest major corporate players to be attacked by virtual hackers.

Citigroup Inc., an American multinational financial services company, holds the world’s largest financial services network, actively formed in 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices located worldwide. Citigroup is listed as one of the four big banks in the United States, along with Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.

The fact that this cyber attack took place, despite the multiple security measures already put in place by Citigroup’s database departments, caused Sheila C. Bair, head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to urge banks to strengthen their authentication procedures when customers log onto online accounts.

The lack of adequacy of safeguard measures in place where Citi’s data security management is concerned, has led to serious concerns regarding Citigroup’s customer account safety and privacy.

Data theft legacy

Recent cyber attacks involving data-breaches have escalated significantly, with e-mail marketer Epsilon, Nasdaq, Sony, Google and defense contractors RSA, Lockheed Martine, L-3 Communications and Northrop Grumman, to name a few, all having been targeted over the recent months. Citigroup becomes the last among these.

Jim Langevin, D-R.I., saying that “Even the best in the business are susceptible to cyber vulnerabilities”, has made a strong effort to pass major cyber security legislation in Congress this year.

James Langevin

James Langevin

Citigroup has been criticized for taking over a month to notify its customers about the data breach that took place.

In this context, Langevin said that it was very important for companies to come forward as soon as possible with such information so as to maintain customer trust and dependence.

The increasing number of data breach reports from huge companies, like Lockheed Martin, Epsilon and Sony and now Citigroup has left customers and consumers feeling increasingly vulnerable.

Citigroup indicated that the thieves had made away with customer names, card numbers, addresses, and e-mail details. Citi’s incident has increased the data-breach relay implementing it as a carry-forward theft legacy.

Impact on Citigroup’s security fence

Citigroup’s data theft has brought up a number of questions regarding existing safeguard measures in place at the company’s data management system, and what the financial services giant plans to do to strengthen security and retain customer trust and loyalty.

Camouflaging Citi’s major loss, the company remarked at an event, “Citi has implemented enhanced procedures to prevent a recurrence of this type of event.”

The Federal banking regulators last updated their guidelines on Internet banking security standards in 2005. According to these regulators, they were “increasingly concerned that customer authentication methods implemented several years ago may no longer be effective and might have also become aware that some institutions have failed to perform periodic risk assessments and update their control mechanisms appropriately.”

With certain predictions demonstrated at an earlier stage focusing on the Bank’s security department, Citigroup’s safety measures have definitely lacked strength to avoid data breach. Citi’s customers are in anticipation for the New-Online secure process to be applied, showcasing reduced but sustained trust over Citigroup’s Brand-name.

Tom Parker

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