Helping South Carolina Residents - Media Had Wrong Approach

We have spent a lot of time recently understanding and helping with the data breach that occurred at the South Carolina Department of Revenue.  This particular incident struck home for us because we have an office Charleston as well as Charlotte, which is right on the border. Our role in this has been different from our typical role after a breach; we are focusing on the individual and how they can protect themselves, allow me to explain why.

What I noticed immediately following the announcement of this breach is the majority of the media coverage was focused on who to blame and very little paid attention to the individual.  Our response to this was simple, it happened and now we need to make sure you are protected.  Lawsuits, blaming people, even firing the CIO/CSO are all fine but none of that fixes the issue.  Several people are even calling for the Governor to step down.

So we decided to lend our expertise and offer a seminar on ID theft prevention and what you can do as an individual.  The seminar was free and we weren’t trying to sell anything.  We found one other organization doing something similar but they were trying to sell credit-counseling service, which was just absurd, the two are not tied together.  We just wanted to get the information out there.

So we went about writing articles, talking to the media, and arranging a local news TV story.  The TV station we did an interview for was great, they only wanted to know what people can do.  The reporter there nailed what we wanted to do. (Channel 4 – ABC)

I also did an interview for a radio station.   She spent about two questions on helping people then turned it to trying to get me to implicate someone.  I had to explain that I had no information on who did it but I told her that breaches happen everyday and the focus needs to be on the response.  I also detailed that since breaches happen, organizations need to focus on the ability to prevent but also be able to detect and respond.  That is the only way to reduce your risk.  Companies need to realize that the bad guys can get in, so what are you going to do about it when they do.

Well most of that got cut.  I was disappointed.  Getting people riled up is not a solution.  What is a solution is be smart.  Freeze your credit reports, watch your credit card bills, and check your credit reports.  It is really pretty simple.  In fact I think freezing your credit is the most effective you can do because accounts can’t be opened without your okay first.  Worrying about bad charges on your credit cards is useless because you have zero liability if someone steals it.

 

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