Security Experts:

Former SunTrust Employee Steals Details on 1.5 Million Customers

A former employee stole data on 1.5 million customers, Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks announced on Friday.

The employee appears to have stolen data from some of the company's contact lists, the company says. SunTrust is already informing impacted clients and is working with outside experts and coordinating with law enforcement on investigations.

The stolen information includes names, addresses, and phone numbers, along with certain account balances, as this was the data included in the contact lists, the company confirmed.

Personally identifying information such as social security numbers, account numbers, PINs, User IDs, passwords, or driver's license information wasn’t included in the lists.

“We apologize to clients who may have been affected by this. We have heightened our monitoring of accounts and increased other security measures. While we have not identified significant fraudulent activity, we will reinforce our promise to clients that they will not be held responsible for any loss on their accounts as a result,” Bill Rogers, SunTrust chairman and CEO, said.

Rogers also underlined that the company is focused on protecting its customers and that it is determined to help all SunTrust clients to combat the increasing concern about identity theft and fraud. SunTrust is now offering Identity Protection for all current and new consumer clients, the company announced.

In an emailed comment to SecurityWeek, Brian Contos, CISO at Verodin, pointed out the importance of ensuring that security solutions aren’t merely designed to detect and report suspicious activity, but are also optimized to protect against the theft of sensitive data.

“Organizations need to be able to validate the efficacy of their security controls across their production environments and instrument them in order to get value. Anything else is simply guesswork and assumptions, and as long as that’s the norm, data theft will continue to be commonplace,” Contos said.

James Lerud, head of the Behavioral Research Team, Verodin, pointed out to SecurityWeek that organizations spend a lot of time and energy into preventing hackers from penetrating their systems, but often forget about internal threats.

“Companies should ask themselves if those controls can be applied internally as well. For example, do their SQL injection prevention measures work when the source is internal rather than external? Defending against adversaries with internal access is arguably more important because it restricts lateral movement while also protecting against insider threats," Lerud said.

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