News broke June 9th of yet another intrusion by sophisticated hackers. This time, the target was CitiBank and more than 200,000 of its North American banking and credit card customers. The hack occurred in early May, though it’s not quite clear when CitiBank became aware of the compromise.
The unauthorized breach was discovered by “routine monitoring” through the Citi Account Online network. In a statement, CitiBank said the names of customers, their account numbers, contact information and other “identifiable” information was “viewed” during the breach. It stressed, and then reiterated several times, that social security numbers, birthdays, credit card expiration dates and card security codes were in no way compromised.
CitiBank and Security
CitiBank has long since been known for its extraordinary security measures. When it introduced its Citi Identity Theft Solutions, it was hailed as one of the strongest safeguards in the credit card industry. It trained its representatives in identifying potentially compromised data, both within its boundaries or when it was suspected an individual’s account information had been compromised; further, it also offered a library of educational resources geared towards helping consumers protect their information.
Soon, it began working with credit bureaus and its customers other creditors when information was believed to have been stolen. Packets of helpful information were put together and eventually, an Identity Theft Tool Kit was designed that provided step by step instructions for both preventing theft from occurring and tell-tale signs that would identify it was developed. Now, customers are wondering how such a major breach could have occurred in one of the global leaders that’s always stressed its advanced security measures.
The CitiBank Position
Frankly, with recent major hacks such as the recent Sony hack, last week’s Google invasion and now CitiBank’s announcement, it appears these computer hackers have become quite sophisticated and determined in their efforts. Many say they do it to “enlighten” both the general public and the companies they hack. These criminals insist they’re doing a social justice by “helping” these conglomerates. It’s more likely, however, that it’s more of a psychological thrill to be the one to penetrate this seemingly impenetrable network.
CitiBank insists its security measures were working as they intended and that these hackers were simply a step ahead of their efforts. Many law enforcement agencies agree and say the computer hackers are keeping pace with every new technological security advance. It’s interesting to note that in these recent high profile hacks, there was little in the way of monetary theft; this certainly lends to the ego of these cyber criminals and their need to be “the one” who does the impossible.
Your Hacked Account
Concerned that your credit card account might be one of those 200,000 believed to be compromised? Citi wants you to know that it’s contacting every single customer whose information it believes could have been jeopardized. Right now, these 200,000 hacks account for 1% of the bank’s credit card holders.
Customers won’t be held accountable for any unauthorized purchases made on their accounts and CitiBank said it’s already reviewing its measures to determine if there’s anything else that can be put into place to prevent future compromises.
For those who don’t wish to wait until CitiBank contacts them, you can contact the bank directly to discuss the safety of your credit card information. CitiBank is the leader in around the clock customer service and customers are encouraged to use the 800 phone number on the back of their CitiBank credit cards or visit one of its more than 900 locations within the United States.
“Our customers are our foremost priority,” said Citigroup Global Enterprise Payments Head Paul Galant in a press release. “The mission of the financial industry is to keep the customer base safe and customers feeling security about their financial transactions and payments.” Galant recently oversaw the bank’s collective credit card sector.
This latest breach serves as yet one more reminder of how important it is to protect our financial information. Those who managed to crack the security have not been identified and it’s unknown whether any suspects have been named.