Feature
News
10/21/2004
05:28 PM
50%
50%

Taking Aim At Acxiom

Acxiom officials get religion about security after two separate hacking incidents come to light.

Competitors in the data-marketing industry such as ChoicePoint Inc. and Lexis-Nexis aren't the only ones taking aim at Acxiom Corp. The database-management company's headquarters in Little Rock, Ark., has been hit by gunfire three separate times since November of last year--the result of being too close to a major highway rather than any specific animus, insists a company spokesperson.

And as one might expect, the company is a target for spammers gunning for the mailing-list mother lode. In July, the owner of a spam company called Snipermail, Scott Levine, of Boca Raton, Fla., was indicted for allegedly stealing 8.2 gigabytes of data valued at more than $7 million from Acxiom between April 2002 and August 2003, the largest theft of personal data to date, according to federal officials. Levine's involvement came to light during a separate investigation of an Ohio resident who also had accessed Acxiom's external FTP server illegally to steal data.

Acxiom executives acknowledge the hacking incidents were a wake-up call and that the company needed to be more vigilant in securing the petabytes of data under its stewardship. "We realized we had a gap and we moved very quickly to fill it," says Jerry Jones, business development and legal leader.

Late last year Acxiom created a chief security leader position and named Frank Caserta, previously a senior technical adviser in the database and data warehouse group, to the post. Caserta says his job is to make sure Acxiom has a centralized, strategic view of data-security issues and to champion best data-security practices within Acxiom and among its clients.

In response to the hacking incidents, Acxiom changed its password structures, and reduced the amount of time data resides on its FTP servers. Also, Acxiom has gotten religion about data encryption: About 75% of all data flowing between Acxiom and its clients is now encrypted, and Acxiom is leaning on its clients to make that 100%.

Return to main story: "Data Demands Respect"

Continue to the sidebars:
"True Grid: Acxiom Outgrows Symmetric Multiprocessing"
"Acxiom's Cult Of Personality: Charles Morgan, Company Leader"
and "Acxiom Privacy Leader Jennifer Barrett: A Few Questions"

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.