Attacks/Breaches

10/23/2008
04:45 PM
50%
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Data Breach? Who Ya Gonna Call?

Our latest CSI survey shows few organizations bring in law enforcement after an attack. That's bad policy.

Whether a data breach is accidental or the result of a targeted malicious attack, the results can be devastating to a company's financial stability and reputation. To compound the problem, many CIOs fear that reporting the incident will only make matters worse. In the 2008 CSI Computer Crime & Security Survey, only about one in four respondents said that they contacted a law enforcement agency in the wake of a breach. Most said they worry about negative publicity and that the authorities can do little to help deal with cybercrime.

It's reasonable to fear negative press. Sales may be adversely affected, and the public's confidence can be shaken. Furthermore, many states have enacted data breach notification laws that can cause a company's legal fees to mount. On the other hand, a decision not to come forward could work against you in court later, and law enforcement has sophisticated forensic and legal tools not available to private industry. However, reporting isn't as simple as it sounds. The President's Identity Theft Task Force has recommended the creation of national standards for data protection and data breach notification requirements that would pre-empt the multitude of existing state laws. The Task Force also recommended the establishment of a national identity theft law enforcement center to harmonize identity theft and data breach reporting. But as of this writing, neither of these recommendations has been acted on. Unfortunately, this makes reporting to law enforcement confusing, as there's no clear-cut hierarchy. In our report, we describe a methodology for reporting to law enforcement agencies that deal with cybercrime.

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