Avivah Litan

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2014: The year of the worst data breaches and highest profits at U.S. credit card issuers

by Avivah Litan  |  October 14, 2014  |  2 Comments

It looks like the credit card companies keep winning and the retailers keep losing when it comes to making money on credit cards. R.K. Hammer, a consulting firm in Thousand Oaks, Calif., estimates that U.S. card issuers will generate $158.6 billion in 2014 revenue, a 9% jump over the $146 billion they earned in 2013. […]

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Lessons from the Israeli CyberFront

by Avivah Litan  |  September 22, 2014  |  3 Comments

I just returned from a week in Israel, which always seems to me to be Ground Zero for CyberSecurity. Here are some of the takeaways I came back with from my visit: a) Life goes on – and the security community continues to innovate I attended and spoke at one of the major Israel cyber-tech […]

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Will Apple Pay Save Merchants from Data Breaches?

by Avivah Litan  |  September 9, 2014  |  6 Comments

Apple has finally gotten into the payments business with its Apple Pay announcement. While details on Apple Pay security features are still scarce, it sounds like they are working with Visa, MasterCard, the other card brands and the major issuing banks behind them to use a payment card tokenization scheme that these financial services companies […]

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Big Banks hit by CyberAttacks – Alarming but not Surprising

by Avivah Litan  |  August 28, 2014  |  2 Comments

Today’s headlines report that big banks have been hit by cyberattacks, according to the FBI. While this news is alarming, it certainly is not surprising. Hackers are always probing bank systems and even a year ago or so, law enforcement authorities and regulators put out an advisory to banks about criminals hacking into bank employee […]

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Russian Gang Password heist is so much worse than Target

by Avivah Litan  |  August 6, 2014  |  3 Comments

I’m finally going to change my passwords. Frankly, I haven’t been motivated until now – even after Heartbleed and all the other heists – since I just do a quick mental calculation of my risk vs. my inconvenience. And I decided against the inconvenience. But now the threat to me and you as consumers is […]

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$200 Million credit card heist reminds us how overrated Social Security Numbers are

by Avivah Litan  |  May 15, 2014  |  4 Comments

A man convicted of a $200 Million credit card bust out scheme pleaded guilty Monday in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the Justice Department. (See: http://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2014/new-york-man-admits-role-in-international-200-million-credit-card-fraud-conspiracy). The scam was executed by using fake identities to take credit cards out, and incur expenses that were never paid back to the […]

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Open SSL Heartbleed vulnerability affects much more than just websites

by Avivah Litan  |  April 9, 2014  |  6 Comments

As we all know by now, this is mega-serious and affects all users of Open SSL 1.0.1 through 1.01.f – so those who kept their Open SSL code up to date were in effect penalized. For information on the vulnerability, see kb.cert.org I’m just trying to understand why all the news reports are focused on […]

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Class Action Suit against Target Assessor is a wake up call for PCI

by Avivah Litan  |  March 26, 2014  |  15 Comments

Two U.S. banks are suing Target’s Qualified Security Assessor, Trustwave, for damages incurred during the holiday season breach at Target, accusing the company of failing to identity security issues. The suit also claims that Trustwave’s round the clock monitoring services for Target failed to detect the intrusion into Target’s network for a full three weeks. […]

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Reflections on RSA and the need for Retailer Information Sharing

by Avivah Litan  |  March 4, 2014  |  3 Comments

Just got back from the 2014 RSA Security conference where I had lots of stimulating conversations with colleagues in the security industry. What stood out the most to me was the dearth of information sharing in the retail payment card industry. You’d think that the PCI Security Council would promote information sharing on threats and […]

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Target and the EMV aftermath

by Avivah Litan  |  February 11, 2014  |  4 Comments

Target boldly told Congress and the world that it was escalating its $100 million EMV upgrade program and would implement it before the October 2015 deadline. Target is absolutely correct when it says that payment system security is a responsibility that needs to be shared across all players in the payment ecosystem – i.e. issuing […]

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