Editor's PickInterview With Michael Bruemmer, Vice President of Experian Data Breach Resolution Group...

Interview With Michael Bruemmer, Vice President of Experian Data Breach Resolution Group and Consumer Protection

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Want to prevent identity theft? In this interview, we sat down with Michael Bruemmer, Vice President of Experian Data Breach Resolution Group and Consumer Protection, to learn more about cyber threats and how primary internet users can protect themselves.

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car to sending a child to college to growing a business by connecting with new customers — they empower consumers and their clients to manage their data confidently.

Additionally, Experian helps individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

Interestingly, they have 16,500 people operating across 39 countries and every day they’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all their clients maximize every opportunity. Also, they are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


michael bruemmer

Michael Bruemmer Interview

1. Question: What are the threats associated with exposed personal information?

Michael Bruemmer: There are many ramifications to having your personal information exposed or stolen.

For example, we have seen that much personal information, such as name, address, phone number, social security number, and medical identification number, is sold on the dark web. Bad actors run the dark web like a marketplace, with pieces of data being bought and sold regularly.

Ultimately, it is hard to say when the impact, if any, would occur. Cybercriminals may try to use the data to hack into your financial accounts to steal money. Sometimes, they use it to blackmail companies for cash, termed ransomware. They also steal information to cause havoc.

But every consumer should take identity theft seriously and be vigilant about protecting themselves. They should practice good security hygiene by doing the following:

  • Do not connect to public Wi-Fi.
  • Only access safe and reputable websites with the SSL security certificate (the s in https://).
  • Shredders are an intelligent way to destroy unneeded personal documents, like bank statements, so they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
  • Consumers should also be wary of suspicious emails and avoid clicking links that could be phishing scams.
  • Password-protecting devices and accounts can also help secure personal information, especially regarding a cell phone.
  • Mobile technology provides access to sensitive information, so setting a unique password and changing it regularly can help protect that information. Enabling remote finding and wiping software, which tracks the phone or destroys data if the phone is lost or stolen, is an extra step that could ensure the safety of personal information.
  • Identity theft risk is also reduced by carefully posting information on social media.

There is information here for consumers on our blog: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-to-protect-yourself-from-identity-theft/

2. Question: What should the primary internet user do in the case of identity theft?

Michael Bruemmer: To protect yourself, you should follow the tips, as mentioned above, to avoid using public Wi-Fi and to only use credible websites.

Also, when online shopping, it’s beneficial to use a specific credit card with a low spending limit used just for online shopping. With a low spending limit, the criminal can’t do much damage if the card number gets stolen and used for fraudulent purchases.

If a person is a victim of identity theft, they should report it to their local authorities.

They should also report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has a designated identity theft website that offers step-by-step instructions to help victims reach mediation.

Other steps include contacting creditors, changing your passwords to your online financial accounts and checking your credit reports from each of the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) periodically for any fraudulent activity.

If you suspect fraud, consumers can contact the credit bureaus to submit a claim and have it investigated.

READ ALSO: Online Privacy Explained: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Protect It

3. Question: What is the most effective pre-breach security measure companies should implement?

Michael Bruemmer: Employees have been – and continue to be – companies weakest link in the security fence. 

Our 2019 corporate preparedness study found that, unfortunately, companies are still not shoring up their security training for employees, which is the most effective approach companies should adopt.

Only 72 per cent of respondents say they have an employee security training program, down from 73 per cent the year prior. This number should be increasing.

When asked how often the training is conducted, 49 per cent do it as part of onboarding new employees, only two cent do it every six months, 24 per cent conduct it annually, and 25 per cent conduct it sporadically. Also, only 50 per cent train employees on phishing scams, while 69 per cent of respondents had experienced phishing attacks in the prior 12 months. 

Companies recognize this is a problem, though. A majority of respondents (87%) say employee negligence has a significant/very significant influence on their security posture.

This is an easy area to address and improve, and I recommend that training be conducted at least annually. 

With the current climate, hackers are even more aggressive right now. They are unleashing email or texting phishing campaigns. We also see that a trend with hackers is they are being more patient than ever and infiltrating systems but just remaining ‘hidden’. 

They are taking time to do this across all industries affected by the pandemic. As soon as we get the ‘back to normal’ order, businesses will focus on everything else to get back on track, but cybersecurity may not be a top priority, and then the hackers will spur into action.

It’s a wrap for the Michael Bruemmer interview.

Note: This was initially published in June 2020 but has been updated for freshness and accuracy.


About the Author:

Owner at TechSegun LLC. | Website | + posts

Daniel Segun is the Founder and CEO of SecureBlitz Cybersecurity Media, with a background in Computer Science and Digital Marketing. When not writing, he's probably busy designing graphics or developing websites.


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