Madigan warns Illinois businesses and consumers to widespread data
Attorney General Issues Alert Following
Homeland Security Disclosure That Over 1,000 U.S. Businesses Breached by
Hackers Using Malware
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[August 27, 2014]
- Attorney General Lisa Madigan today alerted Illinois
businesses and residents to a disclosure by the Department of
Homeland Security that over 1,000 U.S. businesses were hit by
hackers in the same types of data breaches reported by Target and
other major retailers.
Madigan is leading investigations into large data breaches reported
in the past year by Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels Stores, eBay and
Sony. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security disclosed that
over 1,000 other businesses across the country were affected by the
same kinds of cyberattacks that hit those large retailers,
potentially affecting millions more consumers nationwide than
“Unfortunately, it is not a matter of if but when you will become a
victim of some sort of cybercrime,” Madigan said. “Taking
commonsense precautions and making them routine can greatly reduce
the threat and any damage done by a data breach.”
Madigan reminded affected companies that state law requires them to
promptly notify customers that their personal data has been
compromised in a data breach. She also urged businesses with
Illinois customers to ask their IT professionals to check their
point of sale systems for the types of malware that the Department
of Homeland Security says have been discovered. In addition,
Ensure their antivirus software is updated and
able to scan for malicious software;
Require employees to create strong network
passwords that include numbers, letters and symbols;
Require regular employee password changes;
Lock out network access after a set number of
unsuccessful login attempts; and
Limit remote network access as much as possible.
Madigan also emphasized what Illinois residents can do to better
protect their personal and financial information:
Set up Transaction Alerts on your accounts to receive
notifications when your credit or debit card is used above a certain
dollar amount, so if someone uses your card without authorization,
you’ll receive a text message or email and can immediately call your
card issuer to dispute the charge.
Regularly review your bank and credit card statements to make
sure there are no unauthorized transactions. Contest any
unauthorized charges immediately by contacting your bank using the
toll-free number on the back of your credit or debit card. Prompt
reporting of unauthorized charges is critical to limit your
liability, particularly if you are a debit card user because
liability depends on how quickly you report a lost or stolen card.
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For instance, if you report a lost or stolen debit card before any
unauthorized transactions occur, you are not responsible for any of
the unauthorized charges, but if you make the report within two
business days of losing your card, you can be liable for up to $50
of unauthorized charges. After two days, reporting lost or stolen
cards can increase your liability anywhere from $500 and up.
Review your credit reports for unauthorized accounts. You are
entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide
credit reporting agencies per year. Go to
www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to order
your credit reports. Make sure all the information is correct. If
not, immediately contact the credit reporting agency to request that
the information be explained or corrected.
Consider putting a security freeze on your credit. A security
freeze can prevent someone from taking out credit in your name.
There is a downside because having a freeze in place will also
hamper you from opening new accounts or anything involving a credit
check, such as renting an apartment or purchasing a car or home. But
you can easily have the freeze lifted when you want to allow a
company to check your credit.
Consumers also should be wary of companies promising to protect your
identity and accounts. All of these steps consumers can take for
For questions or help if you have been a victim of identity theft,
contact Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.
Madigan’s Identity Theft Unit has helped over 35,000 victims remove
over $26 million in fraudulent charges from their credit.
[FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL