BATON ROUGE, La., March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Background: On Friday, March 18, 2005, regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) voted 5-0 to approve a ruling that would force U.S. banks to warn their customers if they believe their customers have been subjected to identity theft. The ruling follows several highly publicized consumer privacy breaches that were disclosed over the last few weeks, including the loss of backup tapes containing the credit card information of 1.2 million federal workers by Bank of America; the loss of 145,000 customers' personal information to identity thieves at ChoicePoint, an aggregator and reseller of personal information; the loss and possible theft of customer credit card information from over 100 DSW Stores, a nationwide shoe retailer; and the disclosure from Lexis-Nexis, a compiler of legal and consumer information, that the Social Security numbers, names and addresses of 30,000 people may have been stolen by identity thieves. The FDIC decision comes at a time when lawmakers in Washington, DC are mulling legislation that could force companies to disclose material breaches of customer information. The FDIC proposal is somewhat similar to California's Information Practice Act (A.K.A. SB 1386) which mandates similar public disclosure for companies that have exposed California residents to privacy breaches, although whereas SB 1386 requires companies to disclose all breaches, the proposed FDIC rule would only require banks to disclose breaches in which they believe customers' private information was misused. Security Expert Available for Comment: Jim Stickley, an internationally recognized banking security expert and the Chief Technology Officer for TraceSecurity (http://www.tracesecurity.com), a security compliance software and services firm based in Baton Rouge, LA, is available to journalists over the weekend and on Monday who seek insight into how these privacy lapses occur, and how banks and consumers can take steps to prevent such lapses. TraceSecurity's clients include over 100 banks and credit unions, which license the company's compliance management software to continually monitor their security compliance status. TraceSecurity's banking clients also hire the company to perform social engineering audits in which undercover TraceSecurity consultants attempt to break into banks in broad daylight to steal confidential information. TraceSecurity has a 90% success rate at discovering critical vulnerabilities that expose organizations to identity theft. "The FDIC ruling, if approved by the Federal Reserve, could cause a significant increase in identity theft disclosures," said Stickley. "Today, most large-scale identity thefts go unreported, either because the bank wants to avoid tarnishing their reputation or because they are simply unaware of the breaches. Many banks employ archaic data privacy practices that haven't kept pace with the evolving threats. The exploits of identity thieves, however, which are often coordinated by international crime syndicates, have become increasingly creative and sophisticated. Many banks are caught in a catch-22 situation: Their customers are demanding greater online access to a broader range of financial services, yet as banks make their services available online to customers, they're also making them available to thieves." "There's no single silver bullet that can eliminate identity theft," concludes Stickley. "Based on our experience, the banks that do the best job of protecting their customers' information are the banks that view information security not as a static one-time fix, but as a regularly monitored business process that requires continuous improvement. Information security must become infused directly into every facet of the business, governing everything from policies and procedures for how the receptionist greets front desk visitors, to how waste paper is shredded, to how software engineers design and test the guts of online banking applications." To Arrange an Interview: To arrange an interview with Mr. Stickley over the weekend, please contact Mark Coker of Dovetail Public Relations (http://www.dovetailpr.com) via email at mark (at) dovetailpr (dot) com. On Monday, Mark Coker, David Splivalo or Kerry Swanson can be reached at 408.395.3600. About TraceSecurity, Inc. Privately held TraceSecurity is a leading provider of on-demand security compliance software and services. The company's patent-pending enterprise software helps customers satisfy national and international data security compliance requirements mandated by such regulations as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and GLBA. Over 100 global enterprises in the financial services, insurance, energy, government, manufacturing and services industries rely on TraceSecurity to continually monitor and improve the computer security of their companies. TraceSecurity's products and services include on-demand vulnerability and compliance assessment software, social engineering audits, comprehensive security assessments and security strategy consulting. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, TraceSecurity maintains offices in Houston Texas, San Diego California, and Portland Oregon. The company can be reached by phone at 225-612-2121 or on the Web at http://www.tracesecurity.com.
SOURCE TraceSecurity, Inc.