Client Information Security Helping Organizations Protect Private Client Data


Farmers Insurance Agent Hires Hacker

In a statement to the Channel 4 I-Team (local Nashville TV Station WSMV), Farmers Insurance Company said a former insurance agent of theirs may have accessed private client information, and it is in the process of notifying potentially affected customers.

Allegedly a local ISP provider was contracted by a former Farmers agent to exploit a flaw on the Farmers web site that allowed someone to extract all the information from its database, such as insurance policies, names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Because of this client information security breach, Farmers contacted the Secret Service which investigates cyber crime, which is investigating this incident.

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There are at least two lessons to learn from this incident.

First, it is vitally important that every company perform an information security audit to make sure they identify (and correct) as many of the possible client information security problems and holes as possible. Having performed an audit will also help an organization defend itself against the consequences of a data breach.

Second, every company regardless of size needs to have a client security breach plan in place. It is alleged that Farmers Insurance was notified by the ISP provider that they had a potential client information breach, but did not take steps to determine the extent of the breach until Channel 4 started to investigate.