Epsilon Breach: Time to 'Come Clean'

Expert: Organizations Must Guard E-Mail More Closely
When it comes to e-marketing and the reliance on third parties such as Epsilon, Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University says banks and merchants should "come clean" about the information they share with outside entities."No. 1, banks and retailers should come clean, in terms of who they're sharing data with," says Christin, associate director of CMU's Information Networking Institute.

Banks especially should be mindful of ways they communicate with their customers. "Some e-mails from my bank look like phishing e-mails because they are coming from a third party that does not use the same domain," Christin says.

In the wake of the Epsilon e-mail breach, Christin says organizations must put more transparent measures into practice.

"They need more transparency; we want to know where the data is going and which data is going where," he says.

During this interview, Christin discusses:

  • Ways organizations should communicate with consumers;
  • Why any company that relies on a third party for e-mail marketing should be mindful of the privacy and security risks upfront;
  • Steps organizations should take to educate consumers about the lack of privacy that exists in the online environment.

Christin is associate director of Information Networking Institute, part of Carnegie Mellon University. He is a CyLab Systems Scientist and has courtesy faculty appointments in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy departments. Christin also serves as Faculty Advisor for numerous master's programs.

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