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The Body Count of Industrial-Scale Identity Theft

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hackerHacking is not heating up — it's been like this for a long time. What's actually changing is the media’s understanding of its impact, which has crafted insightful content and coverage. You can only do something wrong so many times before you start getting better at it, and the media is getting better at covering data thefts and hacking. While the coverage should still include more hard facts, it is now sufficiently on point, and the private industry is taking it seriously.

With the body count over the last two years, that's not a surprise:

[table width ="100%" style ="table-bordered" responsive ="true"]
[table_head]
[th_column]Retail[/th_column]
[th_column]Financial[/th_column]
[th_column]Health Care[/th_column]
[th_column]Government[/th_column]
[/table_head]
[table_body]
[table_row]
[row_column]Target[/row_column]
[row_column]JPMorgan Chase & Co.[/row_column]
[row_column]CareFirst[/row_column]
[row_column]Office of Personnel Management[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]Staples[/row_column]
[row_column]CHARGE Anywhere[/row_column]
[row_column]Premera Blue Cross[/row_column]
[row_column]U.S. Postal Service[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]Wal-Mart Canada, Costco, Rite Aid Photo[/row_column]
[row_column][/row_column]
[row_column]Anthem[/row_column]
[row_column]Department of Defense[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]Home Depot[/row_column]
[row_column][/row_column]
[row_column]Medical Informatics Engineering[/row_column]
[row_column]Department of Health and Human Services[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[table_row]
[row_column]Goodwill[/row_column]
[row_column][/row_column]
[row_column][/row_column]
[row_column]Internal Revenue Service[/row_column]
[/table_row]
[/table_body]
[/table]

This is a fraction of the total, and some of these hacks have gotten quite ugly. The "victims" in the Ashley Madison hack have been threatened with the exposure of their infidelity. The hackers who attacked Sony exposed confidential contracts that proved Sony was underpaying female stars. They also threatened Sony executives.

Hackers are now playing for big money, and playing for keeps. Attacks where credit cards are stolen cost a company roughly $10 per identity or credit card for liability insurance and fraud protection (all those letters you get, almost weekly, explaining that your identity was stolen and there's nothing you can do about it).

For financial services and health care providers, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) come into play — which is why they got their own columns — and the damages can cripple a company.

Regardless, the reality for most CSOs and CIOs is that they're going to get fired in the next 12 months for failing to prevent a breach they likely didn't have the power to stop in the first place.

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