A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals crime is increasing in South Africa.


Titled the ‘2014 Global Economic Crime Survey’ it was conducted among 134 respondents from organisations in 17 industry sectors.  

The report outlines how economic crime is a serious concern for South African companies, and 69% of respondents say they have experienced some form of economic crime in the last 24 months. The global average is 37% – an increase of 3% since the last report was released in 2011, compared to a 9% increase in South Africa.

The types of economic crime experienced by South Africans are:

Asset misappropriation 77% (globally 69%);

Procurement fraud 59% (29%);

Bribery and corruption 52% (27%);

Human resources fraud 42% (15%);

Financial-statement fraud 35% (22%);

Cybercrime 26% (24%);

Money-laundering 14% (11%);

Tax fraud 11% (6%); and,

Illegal insider trading 9% (5%).

Other types of crime reported include market fraud involving price fixing (8% vs 5%); intellectual property infringement, including data theft (7% vs 8%); mortgage fraud (4% v 7%); and espionage (3% locally and globally).

According to corruptionwatch.org.za, the fastest-growing economic crime category in South Africa is bribery and corruption, which together with procurement and human resources fraud as well as financial statement fraud, sets local organisations above their global counterparts – and not in a good way. Bribery and corruption has risen from 42% to 59% since the last survey.

Just over half (52%) of South African respondents reported bribery. And with numerous South African companies expanding into Africa and abroad, bribery and corruption may pose a significant threat to them, especially if they do business in the US or UK. This is because offences are often pursued by regulators across borders through far-reaching laws such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act.

Procurement fraud, another of Corruption Watch’s focus areas, was experienced by 59% of South African respondents during the past 24 months, compared to only 29% of global respondents. Locally, the most vulnerable step in the procurement process is vendor selection, but other areas such as the invitation to bid, drawing up the contract, and the payment process are also targeted.

The PwC survey reports that formal fraud risk management programmes have become the most effective fraud detection method, but that risk assessments are a neglected area of doing business in South Africa.

In addition, 82% of South African respondents (against 62% globally) indicate that their organisations have implemented a formal whistle-blowing system. However, the survey also finds that the effectiveness of whistle-blowing mechanisms has decreased over the years, but it does reveal an increase in the number of crimes detected by accident.

And once the crime has been sniffed out, more South African companies (82% versus 49% globally) hand the case over to law-enforcement agents to deal with internal culprits.


The following crime tips have been developed by the SAPS and Business Against Crime South Africa:

1. Cash Management  

Shops should keep the amount of cash on hand to a minimum and there should be highly visible signs that indicate this.

Set a maximum amount of cash that should be available in the tills and try not to exceed this amount.

During busy periods the cash tills needs to be checked regularly to ensure that they have not exceeded their limit.

Remove excess cash from the register/s and secure this cash in a drop safe or secure safe not accessible to the public.

Ensure that banking is done regularly and do not allow large amounts of cash to be kept on the premises.

Do not count money from the cash register on the service counter/s where everyone can see.

Where the shop does not have a dedicated cash oice, prepare cash for banking in a secure part of the store which is not accessible to the


Do banking on a daily basis, to restrict the amount of cash in the tills.

Vary the times of banking.

Do not display that you are on your way to the bank.

2. When using private security services 

The security guards should be rotated.

 Insist that guards are vetted on a regular basis.

Use the services of reputable guarding companies. Ensure that the security company is registered with PSIRA.

3. Controlled entrances

Ensure that the premises are not overcrowded.

Restrict movement at the entrance and exits.

Install the best security you can afford. For example, security gates on entrance to the premises and back doors. Keep these gates locked and fix a door viewer to the gate and an automatic door opener or latch chain.

If you have a firearm make sure it is secured and that you have a safe on the premises. 

Ensure you stay out of reach of this security gate to prevent someone grabbing you through the closed gate.

4. Be alert during opening and closing times

Request to be accompanied by Security staff if available.

Work in pairs to prevent being overpowered or surprised e.g. When taking out trash.

6. Persons entering the premise 

Train staff to ask for identification and to call for verification before allowing entrance to the premises.

Always check the identity of people who visit you shop for deliveries or other business reasons.

Verify and keep staff aware of all maintenance being done.

Insist on verification of personnel employed by builders and maintenance companies.

7. Proper identification of staff employed (even temporary staff)

Verify that the person to be employed stays at the address given as the residential address.

Ensure that a copy of the original identification document is obtained from all people employed.

Obtain and verify contact details of close friends and relatives of the person employed.

Regretfully, My Office magazine’s own Wendy Dancer was a recent victim of an attempted hijacking. While she did manage to get away unscathed, it pays to be prepared:

Keep vehicle windows closed when approaching a robot, and be vigilant at all times, especially at night.

Do not wear jewellery when going out shopping, rather leave it at home in a safe.

Always check that your vehicle’s doors are locked before walking away from the vehicle.

Make sure your valuables are stored out of sight before driving off.

Try to park in paid parking areas where there are security guards.

Test your tracking device to ensure it is in good working order.

Always leave your window approx. 5cm open – if the window is totally closed, it is easier for them to break!

Always put your bag under the passenger seat or in the boot – never grab for it when you are getting out the car when being hijacked he will think you are reaching for a gun and shoot you.

Don’t use petrol stations after 9pm – they are now hijacking there too.

Always keep your cell clipped to your belt so when you are out of the car you can call for help.

Be more aware – count the number of cars around you, the number of people in groups etc. then you will know exactly when one is missing!

Don’t race to the robot if it is red – you get hijacked only when the car is stationary – rather glide to the red robot, so there is only a short time until the robot turns green.

Be very aware when going under bridges – they drop stones onto your windscreen etc. forcing you to stop.

When the gun is put to your window – put both hands up facing him – always allow him to see your hands otherwise he thinks you are looking around for a gun and will shoot you.

Be aware of where the police station is in your work /home area. If a “cop” wants to pull you over drive to the police station first – maybe he is not a cop.

The human body takes 21 days to kick into a habit – therefore, don’t give up on being aware, persist for at least 21 days.


Report all crime to the shop-sa Crime Alert number on Jhb: 011 7810372 or CT: 0217901209

According to Trend Micro Incorporated’s 2013 annual threat roundup report, “Cashing in on Digital Information,” security breaches, cyber criminals, and organised attacks made it nearly impossible to keep personal and financial data private. Large-scale attacks on privacy and security are detailed in the report that covers online bank hacking, mobile threats, infrastructure attacks, and others.


This annual report provides an insight into the vulnerabilities of today’s technology that is rapidly becoming interconnected and “smart.” Unfortunately, the new technology being embraced may give more opportunities for criminals to thrive, as they evolve their cyber-attacks and endanger business, including online banks and retailers, while moving closer to homes and individuals through mobile technology.


“Last year encompassed major security breaches, increased malware, and mobile threats that impacted people from all walks of life around the world,” said Raimund Genes, CTO, Trend Micro. “Now more than ever, consumers and corporations alike must be diligent in understanding vulnerabilities, and what should be done from a security perspective to better protect personal data and guard against compromised privacy. While this report details the threat landscape of 2013, more importantly it explains how these threats will continue to evolve and what should be done to mitigate the negative impact.”


Report highlights include:

§     Financial Threats: As online banking malware that directly target victims’ finances intensified globally this year, prolific ransomware increased and evolved into Cryptolocker throughout the year.


§     Mobile Threats: There was a sizable increase in both volume and sophistication of mobile threats, as PC-based threats transitioned to mobile platforms. By the end of 2013, we saw a total of 1.4 million malicious and high-risk Android apps being identified. And Apple users are not immune. 2013 saw an increase in phishing attacks specifically targeting Apple users as criminals recognise the potential revenue from this install base.


§     Personal Privacy: Through social networking and “personal cloud” accounts, personal privacy became a recurring issue. Aggressive phishing attacks riding on the release of popular products such as PS4 and Xbox One emerged to compromise personal information.



§     Infrastructure Attacks: High-profile incidents of infrastructure being targeted by cyber-attacks became a reality in South Korea, demonstrating how critical operations can be impacted on a broad scale.


§     Unsupported Software: 2013 saw increased awareness regarding unsupported versions of Java and Windows XP, which will present widespread security challenges as patches and upgrades cease when support for XP ends April 2014.


Supporting assets:

The report can be found here:



The full report can be found here:


The grey market isn’t populated with suspicious merchants in long overcoats who are generally avoided. Instead, it is subtly represented with ‘grey products’ that are easily accessible. Unfortunately, these goods come with a hidden price tag of which few consumers are aware, until it is too late.


Grey goods are products that have been sourced and brought into the country by circumventing official sales and distribution channels. This can be through online or offline retailers sourcing their own stock internationally, individual consumers purchasing products while travelling or consumers purchasing from global e-commerce websites. While grey items are not illegal in South Africa, they are not the best choice for local consumers.


Yes, the price tag might be lower, but in the long run customers who buy grey imports risk paying far more for their latest gadget. Consider what happens if the device is damaged or faulty. The device is not covered by the manufacturer’s in-country warranty and product agreements, and so cannot simply be repaired or replaced locally.


Buyers of grey goods risk footing the bill for local support therefore wasting both time and money. Worst case scenario, nothing can be done and the end result is simply a very expensive and pretty paperweight. It is usually only when a service requirement surfaces that the frustration is truly felt by the consumer, and filters down into other areas as well. Software upgrades are made available on mobile devices, only once tested in conjunction with local operators on the South African networks, and these might not optimally function on a grey product, and the devices themselves don’t work as efficiently on local networks as their official counterparts.


“A local purchase of a Samsung mobile device through authorised channels ensures the quality of the product, which will also be covered by a 24 month warranty policy and ensure a device that is compatible with the local networks,” explains Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics SA.


“Through a partnership with AlwaysOn, every Samsung device bought in South Africa receives 1GB of free Wi-Fi data every month for 12 months, purchased through approved outlets. Additional value-added services such as Accidental Damage from Handling (ADH) come standard with the GALAXY S4, Note 3 and Grand Neo, offering screen and liquid damage repairs to the device at no extra charge. If the consumer decided to purchase grey products, these benefits would not be experienced and enjoyed.”


Customers can ensure the authenticity of their products by purchasing through channels such as Samsung Experience Stores, the Samsung online store (www.samsungonlinestore.co.za), South African network operators or leading retailers. Dealers not certified by Samsung cannot deliver any warranty – as such, consumers have to be careful when an online website offers a ‘deal’ that sounds too good to be true. The product may have quality snags and the warranty policy might be void. 


“Products bought through official channels carry benefits which outweigh the initial small cost saving of a grey product. On the surface, the grey market may look like a solution for the budget conscious shopper, but it ultimately costs much more in the long run when the user considers the time and frustration involved with incompatibility, service or warranty related incidents,” concludes Fleischer.


Samsung Customer Care Centres will assist with repairs on grey (but genuine) products although the cost will be for the customer’s account. Parts may differ from what Samsung SA has available which could delay the process which presents a further inconvenience to the customer. Consumers should also be aware of counterfeit goods where products are branded as the real thing, but are in fact fake replicas. Counterfeit goods do not carry a manufacturer’s warranty and no service support is available on these devices.


For any questions as to the authenticity of a dealer, product or website, please do not hesitate to contact the Samsung Call Centre on 0860 726 7864.




The latest MasterCard, http://newsroom.mastercard.com, Online Shopping Behaviour Study reveals that 90% of South African respondents cite the availability of secure payment facilities as critical when shopping online. Concern around the safety of online transactions was the reason 42% gave for not shopping online in the last three months, up 4% from last year.


When asked how online shopping could be improved, just over half (53%) of the respondents suggest visible, explicit assurance that their transactions are secure, while 52% recommend ‘protection against unscrupulous websites’. A further 48% suggest guarantees by financial transaction companies or banks that websites are safe.


Despite this seemingly negative sentiment towards online shopping, over two thirds (69%) of respondents say they have made at least one purchase online in the last three months and a significant 87% of those reported being very or extremely satisfied with their experience.


“Consumers want to shop online but they are still nervous about doing so,” says Philip Panaino, Division President, MasterCard, South Africa, “This year’s survey confirms that mandating 3D Secure payment card authentication, like MasterCard SecureCode™, is an important measure to ensure the sustainability of South Africa’s e-commerce industry.”


3D Secure adds an additional layer of authentication between the cardholder and their card issuer, reducing the risk of fraudulent online transactions. Merchants benefit too – in the event that a card is used without permission, liability shifts away from the retailer.


Retaining a human element in the purchasing process also contributes to reassuring consumers, as the majority (82%) of respondents stated that customer service via online chat or telephone is important when shopping online.


“Online retailers must remember that South Africa has a larger-than-ever base of inexperienced Internet users who have never shopped online before, thanks to improved access to smart mobile devices and increasingly affordable broadband services,” says Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director of World Wide Worx. “These users are still familiarising themselves with using the Internet regularly to socialise, communicate and browse for information, so some initial apprehension regarding online shopping is to be expected.”


“As the new user base gains experience and confidence in online activities, their inclination to shop should convert into a regular online shopping habit. To aid this conversion, smart online retailers should recognise the value in educating first-time customers about the security measures put in place within their online stores.”


Now in its fifth year, the annual Online Shopping Behaviour Study, which serves as a benchmark of consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted in 11 countries across Africa and the Middle East[1] between November 2013 and January 2014. The South African study surveyed banked South Africans aged between 18 and 64 who access the Internet at least once a week. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance.


Considering the overall online shopping experience, 90% surveyed are influenced by convenient payment methods, 87% by quickly-completed transactions and 86% will return to a site offering low or no additional delivery chargers. Pricing, still an important consideration, was mentioned by 89% of respondents last year, compared to 85% this year.


“This year’s research indicates that the overall online shopping experience – including convenience, security, good exchange policy, speedy transacting and so on – leads to purchasing decisions. This makes it clear that retailers must consider more than just the pricing of their products,” says Panaino. A good cash back website is also an advantage.


The survey further reveals that the South African e-commerce industry is growing as only 24% of local online spend was on foreign shopping sites, down from 27% the previous year and 33% in 2012.


While preference for Kalahari declined somewhat from 47% to 35%, it remains South Africa’s favourite online store. Local e-tailer TAKEALOT enjoyed the greatest increase in consumer preference, as 11% shop most frequently from this store, an increase of 4% from last year’s study.


“The products that consumers are buying suggest that online shopping is becoming increasingly mainstream, which also bodes well for local retailers,” says Goldstuck. “No longer is online shopping confined to books and DVDs, plane tickets and apps.”


Consumers purchasing groceries (38%), clothing (34%) and personal care (20%) brands online increased by 7%, 8% and 6% respectively, with the number of visits to these sites averaging at two per week.


“The increases are encouraging as shopping for goods in these categories is more complex. Selecting clothing, for example, requires trust in the retailers’ garment and sizing descriptions,” says Goldstuck. “It is likely that more time is spent on these sites per visit, so retailers have a greater opportunity to engage with their consumers and ensure positive shopping experiences.”


The number of respondents feeling that online shopping is costly has declined 13% in 2012 to  just 9% in 2013, while only 3% find e-commerce sites difficult to navigate. This, says Goldstuck, further suggests that online retailers are succeeding in making online shopping a compelling alternative to physical stores.


“When contemplating the future of online shopping in South Africa, and given that 96% of consumers who own a mobile phone access the Internet this way, it is unsurprising that mobile shopping is attracting tremendous interest,” he says.


The study found that 33% of those accessing the Internet via mobile phone intend to shop using their device or have already done so, a jump of 9% from 2012. The likelihood of shopping online using a computer or tablet, or at a physical store, instead of a mobile phone, has declined by an average of 5%.


The most popular items purchased by those who’ve made a purchase using their phone in the last three months include mobile phone apps, music downloads, movie tickets, computer software and coupon/deal site offers.


“Mobile phones are still used frequently to research products and compare prices before purchase in a physical store, but there is a marked increase in the use of mobile banking apps, digital wallets and in-app shopping which indicates increased comfort with the technology,” says Goldstuck.


It is an exciting and challenging time for South Africa’s online retailers. In an increasingly competitive environment, it is not enough to offer low prices and comply with minimum security standards. Local shoppers want a holistically positive experience,” says Panaino. “While they are demanding, they are also enthusiastic about shopping online, so retailers successfully fulfilling shoppers’ needs are likely to enjoy a loyal customer base for years to come.



Further afield in Africa:

Looking at all five markets surveyed, South Africa is second in terms of respondents who say they primarily use the Internet for online shopping, at 52%. Slightly higher, 53% of Moroccan respondents use the Internet primarily to shop, followed by 44% in Egypt, 7% in Nigeria and just 4% in Kenya.

Of those surveyed, the average South African has three years online shopping experience, compared to a two-year average across the other African markets.

This additional experience may explain why concern regarding the security of online transactions discourages fewer South African consumers from shopping online, 42%, compared to those in other African markets. Security concerns were the reason 69% of Nigerian consumers had not shopped online in the last three months, followed by 59% of those in Kenya, 47% Egypt and 43% in Morocco.

Across Africa, the product categories receiving most online sales are travel, clothing and accessories, and electronics.

At 56%, more consumers in Kenya and Nigeria have shopped online via their mobile phones, or intend to, than elsewhere on the continent. This is closely followed by 55% of Egyptian consumers. At 33%, South African consumers have the second lowest inclination to shop online using a mobile phone, followed by 25% of Moroccans.







In its recent Q3 2013 Security Roundup Report, Trend Micro (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704) warns consumers of a peak in both the volume of Apple iOS phishing sites, as well as a sizable uptick in online banking malware.


The findings are closely linked to its Q2 report where mobile threats were once under the spotlight as one of the fastest growing areas of concern for consumers and businesses alike. The latest Q3 report’s findings however, suggest consumers should be alert and cautious during the holiday shopping season to protect personal and financial data from being compromised.


“With the pervasiveness and ease of use of online banking, we as consumers trust these applications almost blindly,” states Gregory Anderson, country manager at Trend Micro South Africa. “It is worrying that our Security Roundup Reports consistently highlight online banking as an area for concern and we want to urge consumers to be vigilant when using online banking sites. You must ask questions of the security employed by your bank, as well as ensure you yourself are secured on all devices you access these applications from.”


Another area highlighted by the report is that while Apple has been traditionally perceived as a safe-haven against threats, the company’s findings reveal that personal information (of its users) can be jeopardised as phishing scams that target the platform continue to gain momentum. According to Anderson, this evidence suggests a potential perfect storm looming in the holiday season as busy commercial and consumer users leverage mobile platforms.


In respect to the report’s findings, it has revealed that after a spike in Q2 (5,800 in May), Apple-related phishing sites have remained steady throughout Q3 with 4,100 detected in July; 1,900 in August and 2,500 in September. This raises concern of potential new targets in Q4 with analysts estimating Apple to sell 31 million iPhones and 15 million iPads in the fourth quarter alone.


To substantiate the banking concerns, Trend Micro researchers also identified more than 200,000 malware infections targeting online banking in Q3. Three countries stood out as the most targeted, with the U.S. accounting for almost one-quarter (23 percent) of online banking malware infections worldwide, followed by Brazil with 16 percent and Japan with 12 percent.


Europe’s top countries, Germany and France, had only three percent respectively which may stem from the regions high degree of multi-factor authentication requirements with online banking transactions. Along with these increases, the level of sophisticated obfuscation techniques used by threat actors has also risen. We found within the online banking Trojan called KINS, anti-debugging and anti-analysis routines.


“While the above mentioned countries have been singled out as the worst hit, we cannot discount the effects the online banking threats pose for us here in South Africa, particularly with the rise in the use of smartphones. In our region we at Trend Micro are trying to work with businesses to create awareness around mobile security threats as until now it has been an area in which many are playing possum, some are avoiding, and others in our industry are simply saying doesn’t exist and as a result will have no impact on the end user which couldn’t be further from the truth. The people who lose in this blinkered approach adopted by our industry – is the consumer,” ends Anderson.


About Trend Micro

Trend Micro Incorporated a global leader in security software, rated number one in server security (IDC, 2013), strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 25 years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. All of our solutions are powered by cloud-based global threat intelligence, the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ infrastructure, and are supported by over 1,200 threat experts around the globe.  For more information, visit TrendMicro.com.


Security specialists, Westcon Security Solutions – Electronic, is pleased to announce the immediate local availability of a range of four next generation W Series rapid dome cameras from vendor partner Sony.


The new range includes four product iterations in the W series of popular rapid dome cameras. The cameras, powered by IPELA Engine Pro, come in both indoor and outdoor varieties both of which have been purpose-built for specific industrial and commercial applications


The cameras boast a pan speed of 700º/s for quick search and detection, a view-DR at 130dB for picture clarity in strong backlight conditions as well as a 60fps frame rate. With its built-in image stabiliser customers will also be able to enjoy a reduction in vibrations as a result of wind or air reverberation, particularly in the outdoor cameras. Buying this high tech product is a good idea but just as people get Alarm installation from professionals make sure you get the camera installed from the company side and not do anything yourself. As they have trained professionals who perform this type of service, thus it’s better to leave the job to the professionals. 


Additional features include a defog mode to increase visual clarity in foggy conditions as well as SD card edge storage.


The cameras are available in four models, including the indoor SNC-WR600 (720P HD) and SNC-WR630 (1080P Full HD), as well as the outdoor SNC-WR602 (720P HD) and SNC-WR632 (1080P Full HD).


For more information contact Michael Coetzee at michael.coetzee@sentronics.co.za.




About Westcon-Comztek

Westcon-Comztek is a leading value-added distributor of technology and converged communications solutions for customers in the enterprise, SMB and consumer markets, in South Africa and 26 countries on the African continent. The company is made up of six business practices which include: Comstor (Cisco business), Comztek Consumer Solutions, Westcon Communications Solutions, Westcon Mobility Solutions, Westcon Security Solutions which includes an electronic and data division and Comztek Software Solutions. The Comztek Africa business deploys the solutions across all these practices into the African market.


Marketing Contacts

Louise Taute                                                     Michelle Chettoa

Marketing Director                                             Head of Creative & Communications

+27 11 233 3333                                                +27 11 848 9000

LouiseT@westcon.co.za                                    michelle.chettoa@westcon.co.za


Fraudster operating in Cape Town


“Our Cape Chamber has advised us of a well dressed gentleman (Malawian) with a laptop who is paying printing companies in Cape Town visits claiming to be connected to the Malawian Government. He has visited a number of printers in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.

The said gentleman is asking for quotations for the printing of high value full colour catalogues. Once these quotations are provided he promptly accepts under the proviso that a R 10 000 commission be added to the quotation. He assures the printer that the Malawian Bank has confirmed acceptance and will settle the full amount within 3 days.

The very next day he asks that he recieve 50% of his commission as he needs to extend his stay and pay his accommodation.”


Chief Executive Officer: P Lacy

Non-Executive Directors: DH Joubert (President), FV Tshiqi (Past President)

Executive Directors: CS de Jager, P Lacy (CEO), KA Leid (British), GN Warren

Company Secretary: DL Garz

As a PIFSA member you have agreed to receive Emails and Newsletters from your Regional Chamber and the National Office. These keep you up to date with training initiatives in your region, special events and workshops and legislative changes that may affect your operations. If you are not the correct person or would like to add additional staff members, please contact Louise Moralee on Lmoralee@pifsa.org and provide the relevant contact details.



NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Worried parents and employees are taking self-defense into their own hands, purchasing bulletproof boards to protect themselves in the event of a mass shooting.

As CBS 2′s Kristine Johnson reported, the items look like typical school supplies — a whiteboard, a backpack and a clipboard. But if you take a closer look, they are actually bulletproof shields that can buy time if faced with school or workplace violence.

“If there’s an emergency, I want my people to have something to defend themselves,” said Bob Carpenter, who bought 15 bulletproof boards for his Delaware school.

“We have whiteboards here anyway,” he reasoned. “Why not have ones that are bulletproof if, God forbid, there is an emergency?”

It’s not just school administrators who are purchasing the armored supplies. Office workers, teachers and parents are also shelling out $300 a board to protect themselves and their children.

One of the most popular items is an insert that can make a backpack bulletproof.

The company that makes the boards, Hardwire Armor Systems, also manufactures armor for the military and says their boards can withstand ammunition from handguns, shotguns and small-caliber rifles — without ricochets. Hardwire also makes a bulletproof shield that can be affixed to the back of a classroom or office door.

New Jersey parenting expert Tammy Gold, a mother of three, said she thinks the boards are a good idea but are probably better suited for older children.

“If it’s something that someone could reach for if they were under attack and it could protect them but it wouldn’t cause them anxiety or upset them, I think that’s terrific,” she said.

But “when a child, a 5-year-old, is faced with being under attack, they may not remember what to do.”

Not everyone, however, is sold on the concept.

Former New Jersey State Trooper Dennis Tully said, in an age of shrinking school budgets, limited funds might be better spent on safety training.

“My feeling about products like these is that they provide a false sense of security,” he said.

Some parents are also skeptical.

“It scares me as a mom to think that’s what we need,” one woman said.

“I don’t know how practical a clipboard might be,” added one father.

Target’s data woes will be costly

The massive consumer data breach at Target Corp. potentially exposes the company to years of litigation that could eventually cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition to thieves swiping the credit and debit card information from 40 million customers, the Minneapolis-based retailer disclosed Friday that the same criminals acquired names, addresses, and phone numbers from up to 70 million additional accounts.

The loss of such personal information significantly strengthens the legal cases of banks, credit unions and individuals looking to sue Target for fraud, negligence and invasion of privacy, some legal analysts say. Unlike credit and debit cards, which banks can quickly cancel or replace, most consumers are not about to change their names or where they live.

“It adds a lot more firepower [to lawsuits],” said Jack Tomarchio, an attorney who specializes in cybersecurity and data protection for the Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney law firm in Philadelphia.

Normally, a plaintiff would need to prove specific damage from a data breach. “But the more personal information thieves stole, just the invasion of privacy claim alone could be enough [to prevail],” Tomarchio said.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company does not comment on future or pending litigation. The company has said customers would have “zero liability” for any damage they suffer due to the theft of its data. It has offered to provide free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for customers for a year, and will announce details of that program soon.

Target, the nation’s second-largest retailer with more than 1,900 stores and 360,000 employees, already faces at least 10 lawsuits seeking class-action status, Tomarchio said — a number that many legal analysts expect to climb.

The most significant question shadowing Target’s legal exposure is how many customers had both their credit card information and personal information stolen, a possibility the company has acknowledged.

“There could be some overlap,” Snyde Taken together, the data breach allows thieves not only to use the credit card information to make purchases, but to steal identities by creating false driver’s licenses and other forms of identification. Such a scenario could lead to more-extensive fraud and greater legal exposure for Target, Tomarchio said.

For now, legal analysts say it’s difficult to assess the extent of Target’s liability given the still-evolving circumstances. But Eric Mazur, managing director at Huron Consulting Group, says it would cost banks at least $100 per card to cancel accounts and reissue cards because of the data breach.

Combined with consumer claims, “the cost to Target could be astronomical,” said Mazur, whose specialties include computer forensics.

T.J. Maxx paid $168 million

In 2007, thieves stole consumer information from an estimated 100 million cards used at T.J. Maxx. The retailer ultimately paid out a total of $168 million in settlements, legal and regulatory costs. The breach at Target appears to be deeper and more damaging, some analysts say.

Normally, large corporations carry a general liability insurance policy to cover these types of bills. In Target’s case, the company is self-insured, meaning the retailer sets aside a certain amount of money each year for potential losses.

Target put a total of $1.2 billion in fiscal years 2012 and 2011 into reserves to cover general liabilities and workers’ compensation, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We believe that the amounts accrued are appropriate,” the filing said. “However, our liabilities could be significantly affected if future occurrences or loss developments differ from our assumptions.”

For example, a 5 percent increase or decrease in average claim costs could have altered Target’s self-insurance expenses by $31 million in fiscal 2012.

The company noted that insurance claims rarely are material to its financial statements. But Target has never experienced a data theft of this magnitude before — it is at least the second-largest known breach in U.S. retail history.

A key part of Target’s legal defense will be whether the company can argue that it took “reasonable” steps to safeguard the data, such as employing a third party to ensure that its systems met industry standards, Tomarchio said.

Much of that depends on the outcome of Target’s forensic investigation into how the thieves stole the information in the first place. Normally, companies are not supposed to store financial information (credit cards, PIN numbers) and personal information (names, addresses, phone numbers) in the same place, Mazur said.

“That’s what puzzles me,” Mazur said. “I’m not quite sure how the thefts of both sets of information happened.”

In any case, Target should resolve these lawsuits as soon as it can, said Randy Maniloff, an insurance attorney with the White and Williams law firm in Philadelphia. Otherwise, the threat of legal liability will linger over shareholders for years, he said.

“You don’t want unquantifiable uncertainty on your books.” Mazur said Friday.

SOURCE: www.startribune.com

Target disclosed on Friday that a mass information breach involved data belonging to up to 110 million individuals—a number far more extensive than originally believed.

The big box retailer said that a probe into the hacking of customers’ personal data found that stolen information—separate from payment information already reported—included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for tens of millions. The new figure was significantly higher than the 40 million the company initially reported.

Although Target previously stated the breach wouldn’t compromise card holders’ accounts, the dramatic rise in the number of people affected called that assumption into question.

Dow Jones reported Friday that Target shoppers’ information was stored separately from the 40 million credit and debit card accounts that the discount chain had said were affected back in December, when the breach was initially reported. Friday’s disclosure indicated that a different system had been hacked.

The third largest U.S. retailer said there was some overlap between the two sets of stolen data but didn’t say how extensive it was. The entry point for the attack has been identified and closed, spokeswoman Molly Snyder said. State attorneys general from around the country are banding together to probe the Target data breach, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Friday.

Jaclyn Falkowski, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Attorney General, said separately that Connecticut is joining with New York and other states in the probe. A Target official could not immediately be reached for comment on the state attorney investigations.

Given the vast amount of personal data at stake, Target’s announcement gave the issue a new sense of urgenty. Experts say thieves may find a way to manipulate sensitive data to withdraw money from card holder accounts, or make other unauthorized transactions. In the wake of the mass theft, the retailer vigorously disputed reports that personal identification numbers (PINs) had been compromised.

“The unfortunate part about this, the part we can’t escape, is that once the information is gone, it’s gone,” Paul Viollis, CEO of Risk Control Strategies, told CNBC in an interview. “The consumer is going to have to monitor on a monthly basis not only their credit card statement, but from their credit bureau as well.”

Regardless of that vigilance, the compromised data “is going to lead the criminal to where the people live, how many homes they have, where they travel to, what they buy, and that whole pattern of whether that person is affluent or not,” Viollis added.

Target has struggled to manage the fallout of the stolen data, which was hacked from the company’s cash registers between late November and early December. The snafu impacted the ability of millions of Americans to withdraw money and make purchases on their bank and credit cards ahead of the critical holiday shopping season.

“I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s president and CEO, in a statement. “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”

The company said that is clients would have “zero liability” for costs incurred by fraudulent charges. Additionally, it promised to provide a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all consumers who shopped at Target locations.

Ian Gordon, equity research analyst at S&P Capital IQ believes the security breach won’t deter shoppers from making future purchases from the retailer although he predicts there will be repercussions.

“I think consumers will come around and we expect there to be some impact probably next year, but over time we think it will work out,” Gordon said on CNBC’s Power Lunch. “The shares are fairly reasonably valued, we see earnings growth pretty strong over the next couple years.”

“The question is going to be, what are the costs to Target in terms of legal and settlements and penalties,” he added. 

But not everyone agrees the retailer might be resilient to all the recent bad news.

“Unfortunately Target has released a lot of bad news over the past 12 months including much weaker-than-expected results in Canada, negative traffic in the U.S., and so I think investors have been looking at this stock and saying, ‘how much worse can it get?’ ” said Faye Landes, Cowen & Co.’s managing director on CNBC’s Street Signs.

On CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, Risk Control Strategies CEO Paul Vollis said, “The information that’s available whether or not someone is actually going to know it was stolen, is slim to none.”

Vollis adds he believes Target is being responsible to its consumers and are being transparent with the public. “The unfortunate part about this is that once the information is gone, it’s gone. The consumer is going to have to monitor not only their credit card statement, but from their credit bureau as well.”

sales in the wake of the data breach, Target also cut its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share (EPS) forecast for its U.S. operations to $1.20 to $1.30, from $1.50 to $1.60.

Target’s stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, fell 1.1 percent in afternoon trading.

By: Javier E. David and Izzy Best, CNBC.com , Reuters and Dow Jones contributed to this article.

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