Privacy and Security Breaces at Acxiom

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Privacy and Security Breaches at Acxiom:
Case Study Chapter 4

Privacy and Security Breaches at Acxiom:
Case Study Chapter 4
Acxiom might be the most important organization that most of us have never heard of. They are the “world’s largest processor of consumer data, collecting and analyzing more than a billion records a day” (Bigdoli, 2012). Acxiom was founded in 1969, and its’ headquarters is located in Little Rock, Arkansas (About Acxiom, 2013). “Its customers include nine of the country's top ten credit-card issuers, as well as nearly all the major retail banks, insurers, and automakers” (Behar, 2012). Unfortunately, Acxiom has been faced with some breaches of security that have led the company make some important security changes/upgrades.

In 2003, Daniel Bass, a 24 year old computer-systems administrator was found to have stolen the data of millions of individuals from Acxiom’s databases. He spent two years collecting this information and stored it on compact discs (Behar, 2004). He broke into their system by simply cracking passwords (Behar, 2004). Bass was not the only hacker to crack Acxiom however. While authorities were investigating Bass, they ultimately discovered an additional hacker group from Boca Raton, Florida, who had cracked the passwords for the same server that Bass had gotten into as well. While they accessed information for millions of people; it did not appear that either hacking incident resulted in the defrauding of any of the individuals whose data was stolen (Behar, 2012). Acxiom definitely needed to do something to beef up their security measures and protect their customers’ data. They first hired a chief security officer, which had not been a position until these incidents. The chief security officer instituted mandatory encryptions, as well as working to prevent cybercrimes. Acxiom additionally began to conduct security audits (both conducted from inside and outside firms) to test for weaknesses in security....
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