A company is never 100% protected from cybercriminals, hackers and nation-state actors, even with proper security measures.
With technology advancing, so is security, but also, so is cyber crime. Are data breach lawsuits going to be a new precedent?
What is it?
A data breach is an incident that involves the unauthorized or illegal viewing, access or retrieval of data by an individual, application or service. It is a type of security breach specifically designed to steal and/or publish data to an unsecured or illegal location.
In recent news…
To the well known Target Store, one of the largest data breaches in history occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, just as the busy holiday shopping season was underway.
Information from as many as 40 million credit and debit cards was stolen.
Investigators believe the thieves captured the information by installing software on payment terminals customers used to swipe their payment cards at checkout.
Nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores in the United States were affected.
At least 15 lawsuits were filed by the end of 2013, seeking millions of dollars in damages. The harm was so widespread that the Department of Justice began its own investigation into the breach.
Many of the major data breaches that have occurred within the past few years have faced class-action lawsuits and then settled, never facing time in court.
This is likely because the company that was breached has no defense, like in the case of Target, and settling allows the company to move forward quickly and maybe escape the media spotlight.
According to various reports, incidences of data breaches and their corresponding litigation are rising by 25 to 30 percent every year.
High-profile lawsuits involving companies such as Target, eBay, and Home Depot have drawn attention to the issue. One Rhode Island attorney says the lawsuits will keep coming this year as plaintiffs lawyers try out new theories of liability.
The precedent set in the Circuit Court could mean more data breach lawsuits will be filed in the future, regardless of whether or not the customer or employee data has been exploited, leading to even higher data breach costs for enterprises.
Who can help
Data breach lawyers have extensive experience in protecting against data breach liability, formulating responses to data breaches, and protecting and advising companies that have been a victim of a data breach. Data breach attorneys can help you with:
- Data breach liability analysis;
- Data breach response plans;
- Compliance with state data breach law;
- Compliance with international data breach law;
- Data breach notifications; and
- Data breach litigation
It doesn’t look good.
Whether hackers are looking for credit card numbers in poorly guarded point-of-sale systems or searching for personally identifiable information in the next vulnerable technology, the influx of data breaches continues and the lawsuits show no signs of slowing down.
To avoid being a victim of data breaching, I’ll leave you with a list of ways to stay safe:
- Institute end-user awareness policy
- Craft an encryption policy
- Install intrusion detection and prevention
- STOP drive-by downloads
- Perform regular vulnerability assessments
- Employ inside prevention monitoring
- Back it up!