Citigroup joins group of online hacker victims

Another day, another new cyber attack on a major corporations website. Recently Citigroup announced that their websites security was breached. Initially Citigroup said that less than 1% of their customer base would be affected by the breach, but that number has since risen.

Hackers at large

The attack took place on May 10th 2011 and it immediately compromised 21 million online accounts. Citigroup said that less than 200,000 accounts were affected but that number has since grown to almost 400,000, and the number could rise even more in the coming weeks.

All of the usual information was stolen from the site including names, addresses, but Citigroup states that social security numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, and card expiration dates were not stolen. Only time will tell if they are correct about that.

Citigroup now joins Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Epsilon as victims in the hacking wars. The question that needs to be asked is why are all of these major corporations websites so easy to hack? So far in 2011 there have been a staggering 114 million accounts exposed because of websites being hacked.

Lack of security

It seems to me that the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Epsilon and now Citigroup should be doing everything in their power to make sure that their websites are safe and secure, yet hackers seem to be able to break down their defenses with ease. Only after the initial attacks occur do these companies take measures to make sure it does not happen in the future, Citigroup also falls into this category.

Following the attack on the companies servers, a Citigroup spokesperson said it has put fraud alerts, and enhanced monitoring services on accounts there were deemed to be at risk. Why not have these safety measures in place from the very beginning, and instead of putting these enhanced features on certain accounts, why not put them on every account? Surely the customers deserve this level of protection. Unfortunately it probably boils down to money and extra cost. However, it seems as if the feds are finally stepping in.

Greater security needed

The FDIC has said that in future all banks will have to offer improved security to their customers, and that new regulations surrounding site security will be put into place. The chairman of the FDIC has suggested that banks put extra layers of protection in place so that account authentication is stronger. While this may mean that logging into your account may take a little longer than normal, it will certainly be better than having your personal information stolen.

The good news is that Citigroup seemed to react very quickly to the breach on their servers. Citigroup has notified all of those who were affected, and immediately sent out new credit cards too. Customers were also told to keep an eye on their accounts to make sure that there are no unauthorized purchases.

I am hoping that companies around the globe are taking note at the current trend of website hacking, and that they take measures to secure their servers, and customers personal data now while they still have the chance. Lets hope that there are no more accounts added to the 114 million that have already been affected this year.

This guest post is by Brett Day,  from Moore, Oklahoma. He is a featured contributor for Associated Content in Technology. He has a huge interest in the world of technology, home theater, and video games. Brett loves writing and sharing his knowledge on all of these subjects.