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Cyber-attacks on Delta and Sears raise more questions about data security

In yet another case of online data theft, aviation firm Delta Air Lines (DAL) and store operator Sears Holding (SHLD) are drawing customers’ ire for the negligence on the part of a common business associate in securing personal data.

According to reports, credit card details of thousands of customers of Delta and Sears were jeopardized in September and October last year at [24]7.ai., a business process outsourcing firm hired by the companies.

Worryingly, similar incidents were reported throughout last year, raising concerns about the safety of people’s personal information. With more and more enterprises shifting towards the digital space for payment processing, the degree of vulnerability is expected to intensify in the future.

Statistics show that Americans lost more than $16 billion to credit card frauds in 2017. The number of cybersecurity breaches reported in the first three months of the current year has already set the alarm bells ringing. If the current data encryption technology is not upgraded, both enterprises and individuals would have to pay a big price in the coming days.

The increase in such digital intrusions indicates that their perpetrators are constantly polishing their wicked skills and using dangerous malware to outsmart the security mechanism.

In the latest incident, the BPO claims to have acted swiftly and plugged the holes in its security system. Sears estimates the number of affected customers at 100,000 and said its servers are intact. Though the credit card details of a small number of Delta customers were compromised, vital information such as those pertaining to passport and social security cards are safe.

It is advised that customers check for updates on Delta’s dedicated web page, delta.com/response. The airline has also offered to contact the victims by phone or email. Those who have used credit cards to transact with Delta or Sears during the period when the breach is suspected to have occurred may keep checking their accounts for third-party transactions at regular intervals.

Statistics show that Americans lost more than $16 billion to credit card frauds in 2017

The scariest among last year’s cyber-attacks was the one reported by credit bureau Equifax (EFX), in which fraudsters stole highly sensitive personal information of more than 145 million persons in July. The full impact of the breach is yet to unfold.

A few months later, Yahoo’s parent Verizon (VZ) came up with the startling revelation that hackers had intruded into all of the 3 billion Yahoo accounts around five years ago. The fact that it took so many years to detect the attack raises apprehensions that several such breaches would be exposed in the coming months.

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