CHICAGO - Last year, Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels Stores, eBay and Sony reported data breaches that affected millions of credit and debit card customers. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that over 1,000 other businesses, affecting potentially millions more.
“Unfortunately, it is not a matter of if but when you will become a victim of some sort of cybercrime,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a press release this week. “Taking commonsense precautions and making them routine can greatly reduce the threat and any damage done by a data breach.”
Illinois law requires affected companies to promptly notify customers that their personal data has been compromised in a data breach. Businesses with Illinois customers should check with their IT professionals to check their point of sale systems for the types of malware that the Department of Homeland Security says have been discovered. In addition, businesses should:
- Ensure their antivirus software is updated and able to scan for malicious software;
- Require employees to create strong network passwords that include numbers, letters and symbols;
- Require regular employee password changes;
- Lock out network access after a set number of unsuccessful login attempts; and
- Limit remote network access as much as possible.
The Attorney General also encouraged Illinois citizens to take the following common sense steps to protect their finances:
- Set up Transaction Alerts on your accounts
- Regularly review your bank and credit card statements
- Review your credit reports for unauthorized accounts.
- Consider putting a security freeze on your credit.