Corporate data breaches ‘inevitable,’ expert says

A cybersecurity expert said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that data breaches, such as those at top retailers including Target and Home Depot are “inevitable.”

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“Nearly every company … is vulnerable,” Dave DeWalt, Fire Eye’s chief executive, told “60 Minutes.”

“Even the strongest banks in the world — banks like JPMorgan, retailers like Home Depot, retailers like Target can't spend enough money or hire enough people to solve this problem,” he added.

“This isn't a lack of effort. Most of the large companies are growing their security spend — yet 97 percent, literally 97 percent, of all companies are getting breached,” DeWalt said.

He said it takes 229 days, on average, to discover a security breach, which are often blamed on poor passwords.

“The days when we have our username and password, which is our son or daughter's name or our cat or our dog is not enough security … for today's attackers,” he said. “Breaches are inevitable. It's happening. It's just life that we live in today.”

“They're going to get in,” DeWalt added. “But don't let them access the information that's really important. Don't let them get back out with that information. Detect it sooner. Respond sooner. And ultimately that exposure is very small. Maybe they got away with a few credit cards. Maybe they didn't get away with any credit cards. But they didn't steal 56 million of them or 40 million of them.”

Ed Lowery, who heads the division of the U.S. Secret Service that investigates financial cyber crimes, told the program that professional cyber criminals behind the big breaches are acting as a “new-age cartel.”