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Don't Put All Data Breach Blame on the Stores
From: Audrey McNeil <audrey () riskbasedsecurity com>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:43:59 -0600


Consumers are pointing a finger at retailers for a rash of security
breaches that left shoppers' credit and debit cards vulnerable to identity
theft, with 80% of people in a survey saying that having their credit card
data compromised is worse than "getting the flu."

According to the nationwide survey of more than 2,000 shoppers by Feedzai,
a San Mateo, Calif., data science company, 60% of adults say merchants are
"responsible" for data breaches -- including big-name brand retailers such
as Target and Neiman Marcus, which each experienced widespread data
breaches recently.

"Fraud prevention is now a matter of predicting complex consumer behavior
based on changing sentiments," says Pedro Bizarro, chief data scientist of
Feedzai. "These findings show that consumers believe it is the merchant's
responsibility, but really it is a collective problem that the industry
needs to understand in order to distinguish customers from criminals and
keep payment data safe."

Retailers may have a case to make saying data breaches are a shared concern
for shopper and retailer alike.

"It's convenient to blame merchants who are also easy targets of today's
professional criminals, who are well-organized and use sophisticated
technology," says Loc Nguyen, Feedzai's CMO. "However, keeping modern
commerce safe is a collective responsibility for banks, merchants,
government and consumers. The good guys also need to collaborate and fight
fire with fire."

Consumers don't see it that way.

Besides the 60% of Americans who say security breaches are the primary
responsibility of merchants, online and off, another 13% blame banks. The
government is also a popular target of consumers' ire; only 5% of adults
say it's up to the individual to prevent data breaches.

In terms of a major inconvenience, having their credit or debit card stolen
or compromised is the "most aggravating" of "unpleasant activities"
according to Feedzai. Losing a phone, getting a flu and dealing with the
registry of motor vehicles fall right behind an identity theft incident.

But only one in five Americans say they will change their shopping habits
(switching back to cash, for instance, or shopping more at mom and pop

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that retailers, banks and consumers
can all work harder to prevent data breaches and identity theft.

But for consumers, it's going to be hard to fight data thieves with one
finger perpetually pointed at their banks and merchants.

No matter which finger it is.
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