It seems as though this Spring season is just a bad time for customers’ personally identifiable information. Especially in the wake of the Sony PSN and SOE attack fiasco, to have yet another large corporation found to be involved in compromised customer data is rather disheartening for customers who trust companies with their private information.
Update: LastPass has also reported a data breach, resulting in customers’ emails being compromised. Luckily; however, users’ passwords were salted and hashed so users accounts on other sites should not be compromised in contrast to the Sony case where the passwords were compromised.
Fortunately, in the case of Netlfix, they have determined who the responsible party was and have moved swiftly to address the issue. Maximum tech reports that an un-named call center employee for Netlfix was terminated for accessing customers’ information without permission. On April 4, 2011 Netflix discovered that one of their call center employees had been accessing confidential information of a number of customers that he had spoken with over the phone. He was found to have accessed the name and credit card information of two customers in New Hampshire.
According to the article, Netflix is now in the process of notifying the two customers in question.
The amount of private data that customers entrust will be kept private by the companies that they do business with everyday is rather daunting. When large corporations like Sony and Netflix run into problems with keeping information secure, one has to wonder how much compromised information goes under the radar of the majority of people. While there is not much one can do to stop others accessing their data without permission once information has been lost in a data breach or as a result of corporate theft, people do have control over what information is given to compainies to begin with.
It may seem rather paradoxical for me to quote Sony of all people; however, they have definitely seen the consequenses and thus can assuredly recommend that customers stay vigilant and protect themselves from fraud. Using one time credit card numbers (if your bank/card provider offers this) or reloadable visa debit cards with just enough money on them fro the desired transactions can help to protect you from data breaches such as this. Further, only provide the minimum amount of information necessary for a transaction, especially if it’s to a company that you’re unsure about. While various forms of fraud protection can help, preventing yourself from ever needing to use fraud protection in the first place is the best thing you can do for yourself and your private data. "Remain vigilant."