Experts say banks and retailers are doing all they can to control concerns in the aftermath of the Epsilon e-mail breach, and a well-crafted e-mail fooled an RSA employee into opening a phish that led to a sophisticated attack on the company's information systems.
Most furloughed federal employees would have had to turn in their BlackBerries and other mobile devices in a U.S. government shutdown. Just as well, using the technology could have resulted in an employee landing in the slammer.
When it comes to e-marketing and the reliance on third parties such as Epsilon, Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University says banks and merchants should "come clean" about the information they share with outside entities.
Communicating with customers about the incident and warning them not to click links in phishing e-mails are all these impacted institutions and companies really can do, says Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer of WhiteHat Security.
Privacy Attorney Lisa Sotto says the Epsilon e-mail breach is a warning about the state of data security employed by some third-party service providers. Strong contracts related to security practices must be the norm, not the exception.
"Persistent" is the operative word about the advanced persistent threat that has struck RSA and its SecurID products. "If the bad guys out there want to get to someone ... they can," says David Navetta of the Information Law Group.
"It is the biggest breach we have ever seen; and to say no financial information has been stolen is, well, understating the massive breach and concern," says Neil Schwartzman, founder and chief security specialist at CASL Consulting.
NACHA has posted an alert about a targeted phishing scam that appears to be hitting recipients up for ACH transaction details. Reports of phishing e-mails appearing to be from the Internal Revenue Service have also cropped up this week.
After the revelation of Operation Aurora, the term began to take on a different meaning. "In essence," IBM's X-Force report says, "APT became associated with any targeted, sophisticated or complex attack regardless of the attacker, motive, origin or method of operation."
"The trend here is the level of fines that the regulators are putting out there," says Tony Wicks, AML and fraud-detection expert. "$7 million does not sound that great, but for the size of an institution like Pacific National, it is substantial."