Tag Archives: Tech

Increasing Use of Social Media in Disasters

In a recent post we discussed how social media was playing an immediate and important role in disaster recovery efforts after the Haiti earthquake.

Now a survey from the American Red Cross shows that web users increasingly rely on social media to seek help in a disaster, and expect first responders to be listening.

It found that if they needed help and couldn’t reach 9-1-1, one in five would try to contact responders through a digital means such as email, websites or social media.

The survey also showed that 69 percent said that emergency responders should be monitoring social media sites in order to quickly send help – and nearly half believe a response agency is probably already responding to any urgent request they might see.

In addition web users expect a quick response to an online appeal for help – with 74 percent expecting help to come less than an hour after their tweet or Facebook post.

The survey also found that among web users, social media sites are the fourth most popular source for emergency information, just behind television news, radio and online news sites.

More web users say they get their emergency information from social media than from NOAA weather radio, government websites or emergency text message systems.

And about half would sign up for emails, text alerts, or applications to get emergency  information such as location of food/water, evacuation routes and shelter locations.

Check out ReadWriteWeb blog for more on this story. Check out information on I.I.I. social media tools and websites here.

Data Breach Risk Still Top for Financial Services

Data breaches continue to occur within all types of organizations, some more than others, according to a just-released report from Verizon Business and the U.S. Secret Service.

The 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report found that financial services, hospitality and retail still comprise the “big three† of industries affected (33 percent, 23 percent and 15 percent respectively) by data breaches.

A growing percentage of cases and an astounding 94 percent of all compromised records in 2009 were attributable to financial services, the report revealed.

For companies trying to manage this risk, the good news is that the overall number of data breaches declined in 2009.

According to the report, some 143 million records were compromised in breaches investigated in 2009, a 50 percent drop from over 360 million compromised records in 2008.

As was the case in the previous year, most of the losses in 2009 came from only a few breaches. The average number of records lost per breach was 1,381,183, the median a scant 1,082, according to the report.

Payment card data was still the most commonly breached data type, but accounted for 54 percent of cases in 2009, down from 81 percent of cases in 2008. Personal information and bank account data were the second and third-most compromised data types.

The study also found that data breaches last year involved more insider threats, greater use of social engineering and the continued strong involvement of organized criminal groups.

Organized criminal groups were responsible for 85 percent of all stolen data last year, the report said.

The findings underscore the potentially enormous liability facing businesses when a data breach occurs. Specialized cyber risk coverage is a key purchase to help businesses manage this risk.

Cell Phone Brain Tumor Link: Inconclusive

An international study into the link between cell phone use and two types of brain cancer has proved inconclusive, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Results from the study are published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The 10-year study found that most cell phone use did not increase the risk of developing either meningioma or glioma. However, there were suggestions that heavy use of cell phones (more than 30 minutes per day) could increase the risk of glioma, but “biases and errors limit the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation.†

Despite the inconclusive results, the authors suggested further research was necessary.  A press release quotes Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the IARC saying:

An increased risk of brain cancer is not established from the data from Interphone. However, observations at the highest level of cumulative call time and the changing patterns of mobile phone use since the period studied by Interphone, particularly in young people, mean that further investigation of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk is merited.†

The IARC notes that mobile phone use has become much more prevalent today and it is not unusual for young people to use mobile phones for an hour or more a day. But this increasing use is tempered by the lower emissions, on average, from newer technology phones, and the increasing use of texting and hands-free operations that keep the phone away from the head.

For more on this story, check out blog items at the Huffington Post and the Washington Post.

Customer Complaints and Social Media

We reach across the pond today where a poll by the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reveals that consumers are increasingly using social media and company Web sites to complain after receiving poor service. Almost one third of consumers polled by the OFT said they would write a negative review on the company’s Web site if they did not get good service, while some consumers said they would ‘Tweet’ about a company or set up a Facebook complaints group. The survey also reveals the benefits to companies of good service. Of the consumers who received good service, 85 percent said they would recommend that retailer to their friends and family, and one in three said they would contact the business to thank them. Meanwhile, a survey here in the U.S. by Mintel Comperemedia, found that some consumers are much more likely to use blogs, Web discussion groups and social networking sites to shop for insurance than others. Of the 964 adults surveyed by Mintel, only 4 percent said they had used social media when asked where they had last researched insurance policies. However, the insurance social media usage rate was 10 percent among participants earning from $75,000 to $100,000 annually, 9 percent among participants aged 25 to 34, and 6 percent among men. These adults were also more likely to post a question on insurance on a social networking site. Check out Insurance Networking News for more on this story. Click here to become a fan of the Insurance Information Institute on Facebook. Click here to follow the blog via Twitter.