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California is a leading target for cyber theft

In a report released this afternoon from the office of California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, it names California the top cyber theft target in the U.S. for organizations that often operate from safe havens in Eastern Europe, Africa and China. Businesses and financial institutions are hard hit by these computer savvy thieves, reported CBS News of this new report.

Hackers Grab 40 Million Accounts From Target Stores
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

'California is a global leader on a number of fronts and, unfortunately, transnational criminal activity is one of them,' the report states which was given in advance release time to the Associate Press.

Harris states that the 181 page report is the most comprehensive ever released on cyber theft activity, which she announced at a late-morning news conference with other law enforcement officials in L.A.

California is particularly vulnerable to intellectual theft as evidenced in the arrest and charges filed this week in Seattle of a former Microsoft employee.

In addition to intellectual theft, California leads in the number of computer systems hacked or infected by malware, highest number of victims of Internet crimes, the largest amount of financial losses suffered as a result.Organized crime and international criminals have found Identity theft to be profitable and Identity theft fraud is number one in California on the global report.

California's $2 trillion dollar economy is attractive to these cyber thieves and Harris is requesting an additional $7.5 million dollars from the federal government to target international criminals.

This report arrives just as the TRANSACT 14, powered by the Electronic Transactions Association, has issued a press release announcement that registration is open for the event that connects payments through technology April 8-10 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. There are 4,000 attendees expected from 1000 companies representing 24 countries.

MC and moderator of all major panels at the event is Jason Oxman, CEO, Electronic Transactions Association. In preparation for the event and some pre-event news, here is an interview with Jason Oxman, CEO, and Electronics Transactions Association on a very timely day when the report of the cyber breach problem in California is available and cyber breach is at the top of the items on the list for panel discussions.

Q. Jason, please, gives some outline to the focus and content of the panel discussions planned for TRANSACT 14:

Jason: Our Data Breach Summit with a panel of merchant representatives, payments professionals and consumer groups will be discussing how various industry and consumer segments have reacted to the Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, and other recent retail breaches, and what solutions in the marketplace will help prevent future breaches and protect consumer data. A discussion on how to find the points of vulnerability and development solutions will be important.

Q. Cyber-attacks are on everyone’s mind as a business person and as a consumer. What should we expect from the panel leaders at the event?

Jason: Discussion will focus on the continuing and emerging threats we may see in 2014. How to integrate security into your payment systems as you evaluate and implement emerging payment application of EMV (Euro-Master-Visa) will be a lively point of topic. Most business owners are getting their new terminals to process the new chip embedded cards for encryption protection in advance of the deadline in Oct. 2015 from Visa, MC and American Express. Target has placed the EMV terminals on an accelerated plan to install before 2015 and be in place in 2014.

Computer entry is another area that will require discussion on the best ways to prevent hacking into the system. Using a onetime authentication token to prevent theft will be in the security discussion.

Q. What are some of the trends you see that will be included in the conversation?

Jason: The fast pace of how technology is changing business and the consumer response. Mobile phones provide payments, apps to order products and view information from retailers and updates reach consumers via their smartphones to alert them to a coupon or special sale.

Q. Bitcoin will have its own panel discussion on whether or not it is a threat to the payment industry. What do you expect in discussing Bitcoin?

Jason: It is in its early stages of development with computer hacking, illegal businesses and bankruptcy of a major Bitcoin exchange, so it has a way to go and how we see the regulation. Anyone who chooses to exchange an item with another item and place value upon it has a payment exchange. We will see how this goes along on the Internet.

Q. What are the special challenges for the small business merchant with 1-5 employees in their approach to payment transactions?

Jason: The migration to install an EMV terminal, security issues for transactions online and phone pay are the three areas that the small business owner needs to have security protection in place.

Thank you to Jason Oxman and we will look forward to updates from the TRANSACT 14 event from Las Vegas April 8-10.

To find more information on cyber theft view the list below in Author's suggestions and the video atop this article on how Target is handling their cyber breach.

Twitter: Victoria Wagner@victoriaross888

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