Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


04:14 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell

Hiding Breach News Makes A Bad Situation Worse

Retailer Forever 21, tagged by credit card data thieves, is dealing with letting the public know about the breach -- sort of.

Retailer Forever 21, tagged by credit card data thieves, is dealing with letting the public know about the breach -- sort of.Forever 21 was informed by the Department of Justice in early August that a data breach involving close to 99,000 customer credit cards had taken place between 2004 and 2007. The scam was part of the same ring that got a lot more cards and a lot more publicity from hitting TJMaxx.

A month after the DoJ notification, Forever 21 made the news public.

A month? Come on -- if there's one lesson that all businesses should learn from higher profile data breaches it's that there's no virtue -- and plenty of downside -- in delaying acknowledgment.

More than that, acknowledgment needs not only to be prompt, it needs to be prominent.

Take a look at the Forever 21 Web site. See anything acknowledging the problem? Look closer.

There it is, bottom left, near the trademark information (you may have to squint): IMPORTANT CUSTOMER INFO NOTICE (it's far fainter there than here.)

But that's not as faint (or as tiny) as the actual acknowledgment that pops up: (light) gray mousetype in long paragraphs that look (and read!) like they were written by a committee of lawyers. Not the sort of thing to reassure a consumer looking for information about the breach; not, for that mater, the sort of thing that helps the consumer find the information.

Look: if you're breached you need to get out in front of the story immediately, and do so in plain English (preferably from your company's president or CEO) at the head of your Web site, rather than sending the message that you're hiding something in the scrolldown.

It's best not to get breached, but if you do you need to be far more upfront and open than Forever 21 has been.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
The Cold Truth about Cyber Insurance
Chris Kennedy, CISO & VP Customer Success, AttackIQ,  11/7/2019
Black Hat Q&A: Hacking a '90s Sports Car
Black Hat Staff, ,  11/7/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-13
P20 Pro, P20, Mate RS smartphones with versions earlier than Charlotte-AL00A, versions earlier than Emily-AL00A, versions earlier than NEO-AL00D NEO-AL00 have an improper validation vulnerability. The system does not perform...
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-13
P30 smartphones with versions earlier than ELLE-AL00B have an improper authorization vulnerability. The software incorrectly performs an authorization check when a user attempts to perform certain action. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to update a crafted package.
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-13
Huawei smartphones with versions earlier than Taurus-AL00B have an improper authentication vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the attacker to access specific components.
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-13
Smartphones with software of ELLE-AL00B,,,,,, have an insufficient verification vulnerability. The system does not verify certain par...
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-12
mysql-gui-tools (mysql-query-browser and mysql-admin) before 5.0r14+openSUSE-2.3 exposes the password of a user connected to the MySQL server in clear text form via the list of running processes.