Feeds

Personal data for 650,000 customers vanishes into thin air

Bad timing for J.C. Penney CEO

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Personal information belonging to more than 650,000 US customers of J.C. Penney and other retailers is at risk after the company hired to safeguard the data lost a backup tape.

The information, which was entrusted to a company called GE Money, included social security information for about 150,000 people. The data was on a backup tape that was discovered missing in October from a warehouse maintained by storage company Iron Mountain. While there is no indication the tape was stolen, company officials have been unable to locate it, either.

In a twist of irony, the revelation of the missing information coincided with the debut of a mini documentary on cyber crime in which the chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, Mike Ullman, speaks about the growing risk posed by online thieves.

At one point in the 20 minute-film, which was produced by security provider Fortify Software, he acknowledges that criminals are actively probing server code for mistakes that will allow them to access J.C. Penney information. He makes no mention of vulnerabilities relating to physical security or business partners.

The disclosure comes a year after TJX Cos., owner of the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls retail chains, suffered a server breach that exposed personal information for as many as 100 million people. Despite it being the world's biggest credit card heist ever and despite revelations security measures failed to meet credit card industry requirements, there's been little measurable backlash on the company. TJX stock has lost less than 1 percent over the past year, compared with a six per cent decline in the S&P 500.

GE Money has offered to pay for 12 months of credit monitoring for anyone whose social security number was lost.

According to the Associated Press, a letter signed by GE Money President Brent P. Wallace reads in part that J.C. Penney "was in no way responsible for this incident." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.