Cyber Security on Cyber Monday

Retail sales were down from last year on Black Friday.  The expectations are high that Cyber Monday's numbers will be up from last year.  But what should we expect about Cyber Security on Cyber Monday?

We all like to think that the large retailers will have adequate security for our on-line purchases and to guard against identity theft.  After all, can you really get by without going on-line for some things?  Unfortunately, our expectations and reality do not always coincide.  In fact, five of the nation's well known retailers have had cyber security problems in the last several years.

In 2009 hackers broke into the computer system used by Walmart's development team to steal information from cash registers.  The information was later found on computers in Eastern Europe.

Home Depot fell victim to cyberthieves, who stole up to 60 million credit card numbers of its customers.  This could have occurred over a 6 month period.

A massive security breach at Target during the 2013 holiday season allowed hackers to access personal information from as many as 110 million customers.  The costs associated with the hacking added up to $148 million.

In 2014 hackers broke into the iCloud accounts of a number of Hollywood celebrities and copied their nude photos. Can such breaches occur with Apple Pay?

In February 2014 hackers accessed the customer credit card records of Neiman Marcus.  This happened even though there were 60,000 alerts to the retailer of questionable activity, which were apparently substantially ignored by the retailer.

Finally, how can we ignore what happened at Ashley Madison?  32 million private accounts relating to extra-marital relationships were compromised.  A lot of people wish it had been a more average retail account.

We have little choice but to trust the large retailers not to make the same mistakes in the future, and, if they do, we must hold them legally accountable.