Jan 23 - The latest admission of a security breach by Neiman Marcus, along with incidents in South Korea and Germany, is clear evidence businesses need to raise the bar on data security. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Neiman Marcus - the latest business in the headlines, admitting 1.1 million customer payment cards could have been potentially visible to malware. And that so far, 2,400 cards were used fraudulently. It does not know of any ties to the recent Target cyber attack. The clear message - no one is safe. PwC's Carolyn Holcomb: SOUNDBITE: CAROLYN HOLCOMB, PARTNER, PWC (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Breaches are costing millions and millions every year for banks, for organizations and yes, so they are trying to keep the costs out of the consumers, so that they are trying to protect all of us but it does in the end raise the cost of everything. So, absolutely there is cost on all fronts to this and there is cost to be proactive." That cost: about $3.6 million for the average business surveyed- up more than 60 percent in 2013. And the average financial loss because of a security incident jumped by almost 50%. While it's no secret that security risks are on the rise, what is alarming is that about a fifth of those surveyed are in the dark. They don't even know how often they are being hit. The problem is not limited to the U.S. Recent hacking in South Korea and Germany have also sounded alarm bells. Thomas Kremer, who is in charge of data security at Deutsche Telekom in Germany explains: SOUNDBITE THOMAS KREMER, MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DEUTSCHE TELEKOM AG, IN CHARGE OF DATA SECURITY (GERMAN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION): "Botnets are an application of special software called malware, used to take over computers without knowledge of their owners and to combine them to remote controlled systems, that can be used for massive attacks. This is a phenomenon we are encountering quite often recently." Identity theft is a real danger. It's jumped nearly 60 percent in the last year among the retail and consumer group surveyed by PwC. And pressure to be more pro-active is growing: SOUNDBITE: CAROLYN HOLCOMB, PARTNER, PWC (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There are regulators in the United States that ask that companies become more pro-active and that requires organizations to really think about their governance, who is accountable? What are the processes that they have in place? And yes that is definitely shifting and organizations are also spending a lot of time thinking through their incidence response plans, so if something does happen they are prepared to respond more quickly." Retailers say they are stepping it up: Daniel Kulle is the President of H&M North America. SOUNDBITE: DANIEL KULLE, PRESIDENT, H&M NORTH AMERICA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We have in our system - updated our transactions going from your store to the banks with the latest technology and we did it throughout our store fleet during 2013, so we have. I'm working very closely with the banks to make sure everything is safe whatever you do at H&M." Given the security challenges ahead, it will remain a costly and complicated endeavor for retailers.