Just another data theft? The news on Jan. 18 that retailer TJX Companies fell victim to a security breach that could involve millions of customers credit information didnt exactly shake up the world.
Wall Street barely noticed, as the $13 billion companys stock price was down just 9 cents as of this writing. News reports quoted financial analysts brushing off the break-in as a “one-time” issue. Other experts are taking what amounts to a get-over-it attitude, saying that these types of attacks are going to happen and that consumers and businesses need to be smart about security and take every precaution, from technology solutions to behavioral modification.
Yet, ultimately, that is not enough. The online security business is changing right under everyones noses. Signature-based anti-virus products, which we have relied on for so long, are pretty much obsolete in this time of the zero-day attacks, writes Senior Editor Ryan Naraine starting on Page 16 this week. A combination of anti-malware, spyware, spam and rootkit software, along with anti-virus software plus 24/7 surveillance, is barely keeping us above water.
The point is that it may be a one-time event for TJX, but for everyone else, its becoming almost an everyday thing.
The get-over-it attitude has prevailed for a long time in the Internet economy, all the way back to then-Sun CEO Scott McNealys famous remarks about lack of privacy in 1999.
Events such as the TJX breach or last years Department of Veterans Affairs laptop affair also mask the fact that corporate, personal, credit and financial data has always been up for grabs, either by Internet crime syndicates or old-fashioned bank robbers. Its just that now there are more laws in place forcing companies to disclose when data is stolen.
With the IT industry doing all it can to protect data and its owners, its probably up to everyone else to jump on the behavioral-modification bandwagon. Microsoft is trying to force the issue with Windows Vista, which is a good thing. But if we keep saying “get over it” about data theft, then we will never change the game. Were still losing.
Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at email@example.com.