A lawsuit filed by customers of First American Title Company alleges the company failed to protect their personal information which was revealed in a security breach. First American is the largest title company of its kind in the United States.
The class action lawsuit could affect nearly 900 million customer files and called the title company’s data storage system “woefully insecure.” The lawsuit alleges First American was negligent and that it violated its contracts with customers. According to the complaint the company has “….turned the American dream of home ownership into a financial security nightmare…”
Revealed in the breach is personal information of First American customers including financial and tax records, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and drivers’ license photos. The breach has left hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable to identity theft and other crimes.
According to plaintiffs, First American claimed to have safeguarded their information and repeatedly promised data storage was “secure and reliable,” but instead, was negligent in storing records. The company is accused of violating the law by exposing sensitive information.
The lawsuit further alleges the company chose to “maintain careless security practices,” despite being warned by the FBI of the risk. One attorney representing the plaintiffs called First American’s actions a blatant disregard of “the most basic safety protocols.”
Consumers Regularly Exposed by Data Breaches
Sensitive and personal information belonging to consumers is frequently exposed during data breaches – something that seems to be on the rise in recent years.
Hackers have targeted retail, medical, and credit establishments, all in an effort to steal information that can be sold or used in a variety of ways by criminals.
A 2018 study sponsored by IBM and conducted by the Ponemon Institute revealed the global average cost of a data breach was up 6.4 percent over the previous year to $3.86 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record increased to nearly $150.
Efforts are ongoing by businesses to reduce their risk and make them less of a target, but hackers are often one step ahead of what they are doing. Many businesses have even created top-level positions for security information officers, which are entirely focused on reducing any risks a company faces and having a plan in place for mitigating damage when a hack does occur. These security officers might not be able to prevent highly sophisticated attacks, but they are able to reduce the risk for simple security breaches.
Executives in businesses are also making an effort to better understand the security risks they face when it comes to storing data. This makes it easier for a business to create a strong defense because everyone is on board and has the same understanding of the mission’s importance.
But when a company fails take even basic action to protect the data it stores it is easy for criminals to access the information. Those familiar with the First American situation believe this to have been the case.