In a shocking incident, the Citigroup has confirmed that a security breach may have given hackers access to the data of hundreds of thousands of citi bank credit card customers. The hack pertains to the details of North American customers alone. The bank says approximately 1% of its customers were affected. Considering the fact that the bank has around 21 million customers, even a small percentage of that will equate to quite a large number.

The hackers might have got the information pertaining to the customers’ names, credit card numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses. Citigroup said that the data like SSN, date of birth, card expiration date and card security code were not compromised, which should bring some relief to the affected customers.

Sony was hit by a series of cyber attacks in recent times, but the security breach of a major banking entity like Citi should ring the alarm bells, specially since the banks are known to provide fool-proof security to their customers’ data. Though the extent of breach appears to be small and should not pose a direct threat as such to the customers, Citigroup needs to ramp up their encryption mechanisms. According to some reports, Citi is known to be encrypting the users’ data with 128-bit encryption, but in recent times, a 256-bit encryption mechanism is recommended.

A bitter co-incidence may be, I just got an email from Citibank India lecturing me about Secure Online Banking. Fine, Thanks!

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp