SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- High-profile data breaches and the loss of sensitive corporate data are already big problems, with the potential to get a lot worse in the coming months.
More than half of Americans plan to do their holiday shopping online, according to a recent Career Builder survey. At issue: an inordinate number of these shoppers will use their business email address and its password to create their ecommerce accounts, opening workplace files to hackers and putting employers' computer networks at grave risk. Surprisingly, this is almost always at odds with their company's acceptable use policy for corporate email.
"An employee's seemingly innocuous action of using a work email address as a log-in or for notification of gift purchases can open the floodgates to corporate data loss," said Drew Smith, CEO of InfoArmor, which helps companies and their employees detect and manage emerging fraud. InfoArmor is working with Fortune 500 companies to combat their potential overexposure in an online environment using cutting-edge intelligence and monitoring to identify misused and compromised credentials.
"The problem is that employees are unaware of the consequences of shopping online from their office, so their employers must be more diligent in educating them about the dangers," Smith said. "Doing so ultimately will safeguard against massive data breaches that are becoming commonplace in our digital world."
More than 13 million people fell victim to identity fraud in 2013 – the highest on record, according to the latest statistics from Javelin Strategy & Research – but individuals are not the only ones getting hurt by these crimes. Recent credential hacking incidents have exposed nearly 80 million critical pieces of employee and employer information, Smith said, "and the problem is likely to be magnified by the spike in online shopping."
This holiday season, Shop.org projects that up to 11 percent more Americans will be shopping online compared to last year, spending as much as $105 billion in November and December. Among this growing group of online shoppers, 54 percent plan to purchase holiday gifts while at work.
"Employees are a company's biggest asset, but when it comes to online shopping, they can also be a huge liability," Smith said. He advises companies to protect their networks and intellectual property leading up to Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season by educating employees about the dangers of using their corporate email address and password for personal use.
"Be cautious when providing information online; only shop with trusted vendors or retailers. Look for the "s" in the URL "https://" to ensure the website is secure," he added.
InfoArmor works with companies throughout the nation to provide identity protection and privacy management solutions to their employees, members and customers. The company's innovative and user-friendly services help employers and partners offer a valuable benefit, enhance their brand, improve loyalty and generate revenue while providing stakeholders enhanced security and peace of mind. InfoArmor was established in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2007. For more information, visit infoarmor.com.