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Citigroup Bank Card Data Hacked, Late to Notify Consumers

Citigroup Bank Info Hacked

It is hard to understand why the security breach wasn't disclosed to consumers affected, sooner.

Citigroup Inc said names, account numbers and contact information of 200,000 North American bank card holders have been hacked. Discovered in May, this is the latest of a series of cyber attacks on major companies. But Citi assured that there were no birth dates, social security numbers, card expiration dates and card security codes compromised. Citi’s U.S. spokesman Sean Kevelighan said the company contacted customers whose information was impacted but disclosed no details for their customers’ security. There were no details given as to how the breach happened. Citi’s Hong Kong spokesman James Griffiths said the North America breach impacted 1% or 21 million based on the bank’s annual report.

Japan’s Sony disclosed several network security breaches this year and similarly, City may be besieged with complaints for not informing customers sooner. Spokesman for Australia’s Consumer Action Law Center, Dan Simpson said it may be the bank’s business, but it’s the consumer’s personal information so consumers deserve to be told about security breaches immediately. They find it hard to see why the breach couldn’t have been disclosed sooner.

The list of cyber attack victims is growing with Citigroup as the latest addition. EMC Ltd, a data storage company, vowed to replace millions of electronic keys following the hackers’ use of RSA data in the recent breach into Lockheed Martin. RSA is an EMC security division. Sony said one of the breaches it suffered involved its PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts where 77 million users’ personal information was accessed. The company was censured for not immediately telling its customers about it. Last week’s victim, Google Inc, said its Gmail accounts were targeted including those of senior U.S.  government officials. They said the breach appeared to have come from China. Washington moved to see if any security was compromised due to Google’s Gmail system invasion in an increased cyber security alert.

During a regular monitoring, Citi discovered the unauthorized access to its online banking service, Citi Account Online. With that amount of bank data stolen, it’s definitely a serious security breach, said Ty Miller, chief technology officer of Pure Hacking. Citi’s Paul Galant, who used to handle the bank’s credit card unit, said financial institutions experience security breaches. He said they’re going to continue to happen and the banking industry has to keep the customer base safe.