Guest Column | February 6, 2015

Retail Data Or Healthcare Data: Which Is More Secure?

By Stanley Louissaint, President, Fluid Designs Inc., ASCII member since 2014

Data breaches are one of the biggest threats and concerns today for an individual. There are two industries where these threats have impacted individuals the most — healthcare and retail. Does either one of these industries pose a greater threat than the other?  I think so.

Retailers have a history of being lax in their security protocols as it pertains to protecting customer information. The primary objective of a retailer is to sell more goods to the consumer.  A method used to facilitate that goal is by offering customers as many payment options as possible. For a majority of stores these payment options include utilizing a major brand credit card, a store card, check, and/or cash. 

The primary data target of breaches, as it pertains to retailers, is typically not customer information but their major brand credit card information. The value lies in the ability to make purchases before the credit card company has a chance to figure out what’s going on. 

After the credit card information is stolen from a retailer things often move rapidly. Cybercriminals proceed to sell this information to other criminals who will then make physical credit cards out of this information and go on a buying spree with your money. Once the threat is detected, usually by the credit card company, all the affected accounts are deactivated. The customers are then issued new credit cards to replace the compromised ones and they are offered some sort of free identity protection service. 

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