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Ziff pays $125K to settle security breach

Lawyers get big bucks as punters gets peanuts

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Publisher Ziff-Davis has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle legal actions brought after a security breach that exposed customer credit card details on the Web.

The States of New York, Vermont and California will receive $100,000 from Ziff to cover their costs in investigating a breach that exposed some "12,000 subscription orders last year", according to ZDNet. Ziff will also pay 50 users, whose credit card details were inadvertently published on the Web, $500 in compensation.

As a result of coding errors during a promotion last November, personal details of subscribers to Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine were exposed on Ziff's Web site. Some of these people later became the victims of identity theft.

As part of the settlement, Ziff has agreed to bolster its security measures to guard against a repeat of the damaging (both to customers wallets and its reputation) security breach.

The case is interesting because statements by New York Attorney's Office suggest an increased willingness by the US authorities to hold companies liable for unintentionally violating customers' privacy. Maybe this will be a factor in encouraging firms to take online security more seriously in future (we hope, anyway).

However we can't help reflecting that with only 50 users out of 12,000 subscribers receiving any compensation for the worry and inconvenience caused by Ziff's bungle, the main winners in this case are the lawyers. As usual. ®

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