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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 06:55 GMT 07:55 UK
Consumers shunning hacked stores
TK Maxx price tags, PA
The hackers behind the TK Maxx robbery have not been caught
Customers of companies which lose credit card data to hackers are voting with their wallets and taking their business elsewhere, suggests a survey.

A majority of those questioned said they would stop spending in shops and on websites hit by criminal hackers.

The survey also found that people wanted to know as soon as possible if data about them was stolen.

Of those asked, 95% said they worried about key personal data being stolen and used by thieves.

Massive theft

The survey found that 14% of the 1243 people questioned said they had been victim of data theft be it by cyber thieves stealing data from online stores or penetrating company networks to get at databases full of customer details.

"This is not just happening occasionally, these guys are scoring big" said Paul Davie, chief executive and founder of security firm Secerno which commissioned the survey.

In December 2006 US discount retailer TJX, which owns TJ Maxx, and UK outlet TK Maxx, realised it had been hit by criminal hackers who managed to spirit away more than 45 million credit card records.

TJX played down the breach saying that many of the numbers stolen were for cards that had now expired and that some of the data was in an obscured format.

The survey found that 53% of people would stop spending at firms that suffered security breaches and 58% wanted financial institutions and governments to take greater responsibility for the data they gather about customers.

Mr Davie said many US states, such as California, had enacted laws that compel companies to disclose when they have hit by criminally-minded hackers.

"That requirement is going to come to Europe at some point," he said.

Of the consumers questioned in they survey, 82% wanted to be notified immediately if a breach takes place.

"The public perception is of a hacker being some kid in a bedroom that does this for fun," said Mr Davie, "but these kids have grown up."

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30 Mar 07 |  Business
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08 Oct 06 |  Technology

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