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
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Zero Trust doesn't have to break your budget!
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
SQL Injection vulnerability in phpCMS 2007 SP6 build 0805 via the digg_mod parameter to digg_add.php.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
Directory Traversal vulnerability in phpCMS 9.1.13 via the q parameter to public_get_suggest_keyword.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
phpCMS 2008 sp4 allowas remote malicious users to execute arbitrary php commands via the pagesize parameter to yp/product.php.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
IBM Security Identity Manager 6.0.2 is vulnerable to server-side request forgery (SSRF). By sending a specially crafted request, a remote authenticated attacker could exploit this vulnerability to obtain sensitive data. IBM X-Force ID: 197591.
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-16
IBM Security Identity Manager 6.0.2 could allow an authenticated malicious user to change the passowrds of other users in the Windows AD enviornemnt when IBM Security Identity Manager Windows Password Synch Plug-in is deployed and configured. IBM X-Force ID: 197789.