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LexisNexis Agrees To Settlement With FTC

Britain's leading publishing organization Reed Elsevier's division the LexisNexis Group has agreed with the Federal Trade Commission regarding information leaks that endangered the private data of innumerable Americans at its Seisint branch in Boca Raton.

The FTC alleged that Seisint permitted clients to utilize easy-to-guess passwords to infiltrate databases with confidential client data, without the need of users to encode or safeguard IDs and perpetrated other security breaches, allowing identity thieves to illegally hack into the personal information of no less than 316,000 clients.

The identity thieves exploited the stolen information to misuse credit cards, setting up new bank accounts and then using them for making fraudulent purchases. As per the FTC, Reed Elsevier bought Seisint towards the end of 2004, and the violations persisted for about nine months after Reed Elsevier took over Seisint and managed its databases.

As per the conditions of the settlement, the FTC directed the two firms to engage intermediary security auditors to evaluate their security measures on a biyearly basis for the next two decades. The FTC expects the auditors to authorize that the firms' security system fulfills or surpasses the prerequisites of the FTC's guidelines. The audit should also establish that the firms are giving "solid guarantee that the safety of clients' private data is being secured.

Suzanne D'Agostino, The Vice President for Corporate Communications at LexisNexis, said that they have settled the problems recognized by the FTC, which concerns information leaks previously exposed in 2005, and are resolved in upholding the improved security measures that were introduced, reported by PalmBeachPost on March 29, 2008.

FTC appended that it had succeeded with the Hayward Police Department, CA and the REACT (Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team) unit in its probe of Seisint and Reed Elsevier. This was the19th test of the information security system by the FTC.

The information leaks that took place at Seisint were followed by several more leading retailers, universities and large firms. Until now, the FTC has lodged 20 complaints regarding information breaches after ID theft became prevalent.

The theft of private data of countless Americans induced several states including Florida to legislate laws urging companies to enhance the security of information saved on PCs, as well as notebooks.

Related article: LexisNexis Hackers Apprehended

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