Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security


Citigroup is one of the multinational corporations that have huge on line presence. It is the third-largest U.S bank and with global presence in over 100 countries. It has over 200 million client world wide. On June 2011, Citigroup reported that it had discovered a security breach in which a hacker had accessed personal information from hundreds of accounts. According to Citigroup press room, the breach which occurred in may 2011, was discovered during their routine monitoring, in which they realized ‘unauthorized access to Citi’s account online’ affecting about 200, 000 customers ( The hackers stole customers accounting information such as name, account number, contact information (email address) Social Security numbers, dates of birth, card security codes, and card expiration dates. This was a severe attack in any bank by any standard.

Citigroup website

Citigroup is an international financial conglomerate with services ranging from banking to insurance. Citigroup products include Banking, Credit Cards, Loans and Mortgages, Bills Payment Services, and Cash Management. Others include Global Transaction Services, Trade Services and Finance, and Security and fund Services. These services are offered through its various wings such as Citibank, Citi Cards, Citi Private Bank, Banamex, CitiMortgage, and OneMain Financial.  It has global presence in over 100 countries and client base of over 200 million. Citibank is the banking wing of Citigroup. Citibank online is the world leading online bank. Citibank has been crucial in entrenching the current online banking to its services (

Although Citigroup is headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, United States, it is better accessed through it various business lines or regional headquarters. it operations are divided in seven regions: Africa, Asian Pacific, Central America & Caribbean, Europe, Middle east, North America, and South America. A specific information on it services can be enquired through it business lines or channeled through the aforementioned regions ( This is a kind of decentralizing services in line with its global presence.

Citigroup products are customized to suit the interest of its customers. Its online banking is meant to serve growing e-commerce. In Loan and Mortgage section, Citi has products that will fit almost everyone. It gives personal loans, student loans, home equity, mortgages just to mention a few. The banking section has customized services such as savings, checking, on line banking, IRAs, and private Banking ( Business will automatically enjoy services such as Commercial Cards, WorldLink, Trade Services and Finance, and Security and Fund Services.

Just like in any other financial institution, Citigroup holds person information concerning its customers. It usually has person information such as name, account number, contact address (phone, email and physical), dates of birth, card expiration dates and card security cords. It is this information that was under target. Some of the affected clients during the security breach were not happy with Citigroup accusing it of being negligent when they lost their money to cyber criminals. Some customers complained that their credit cards were used by third parties (Smith, 2011).


Internet marketing strategies

Three internet marketing strategies used by Citigroup are: 1) Relationship marketing, 2) Internet advertising, and 3) gaining of customers online ( These are important part strategies in its marketing campaign.

Relationship marketing is a core marketing strategy where Citigroup carries out direct-mail campaign. It places a higher emphasis on customer satisfaction and retention than on selling as many products as possible. This marketing strategy has been very successive since in service-oriented business, long-term customer relationships generate the most revenue.

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

Citigroup carries a lot of internet marketing to generate leads and win more customers. Its online presence creates an unrivalled awareness. It provides the most necessary information over the internet. This leads to its third marketing strategy gaining customers online. All its information has a call of action. In most of its pages, interested customers have an option of applying to its services online (  Examples of online application are online bank application and credit card application.

Citigroup website has a competitive advantage in online services. Citibank is the leading and pioneer bank in online bank. Online banking allows Citibank to gain customers in all corners of the world provided the customer can access internet connection. Citigroup website is also an interactive forum and platform to create awareness.

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

In addition, through it website, Citigroup regularly carries out survey to evaluate the satisfaction of its customers (Hurtado, 2011). All its customers can engage with the company online. Most of its services can be accessed online. The attack on Citibank online account raised a red flag on online banking (Smith, 2011). Although Citigroup had been very successive in offering online services, the security breach placed it among the vulnerable companies. Most of the potential customers are now cautious when dealing with its services.

Privacy/Security policy

In privacy, Citigroup states it goal as to maintain “trust and confidence when handling personal information’ about it customers ( It categorically states that each customer has a choice to decide how his/ her information is shared.

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

The security breach must have gone against this principle. The personal information of its customers was acquired without their consent or their knowledge. Their credit cards were sold to third parties and their money withdrawn by the hackers. The breach eroded the trust that customers had bestowed on their bank (Hurtado, 2011).

Further, Citigroup states that security of information about their customer is their priority.  It emphasizes that it protect this information by ‘maintaining physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that meet applicable law’ ( According to its privacy policy, its employees are trained on the best way to handle customer’s personal information. This policy extend even when it uses other companies to provide service on its behalf since it require the other company ‘to protect the confidentiality of personal information they receive’.

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

The May 2011 security breach exposed these principles and made corporate consumers question the ability of the corporate world to protect their personal information (Stuttard and Pinto, 2011). Among the security measures that Citigroup prides to have put in place is email encryption, but still it did not prevent hackers.

In response to the security breach, Citigroup ‘contacted law enforcement officials and tightened its fraud detection procedures’. It further contacted the affected customers and enhanced procedures to prevent a recurrence of the event. Later Citigroup issued new credit cards to counter the data breach (Smith, 2011).

Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security

Nevertheless, some of its customers, who ended up in suing it complained that the bank did not respond sooner to the breach which happened in May but only came to light in June. Most people learnt that their account had been compromised when they tried to use their account and had their transaction denied. Although, Citigroup reported that the security breach affected only 1% of North American Card customers, there was speculation that the effect could be worse. It was a significant scale attack on one of the world largest financial institutions.


  • Citigroup should ensure that it has an Internet Security Package. Installing internet package helps to protect financial crime ware and safeguards online identity. Internet Security Package includes antivirus, anti-spyware, and firewall (Milhom, 2007).
  • Keeping operating system up to date is an important step in securing a corporate computer. This may require a corporation to liaise with technology corporations such as Microsoft and Apple to acquire regular release of updates, or patches, which provide new features, enhances performance and provide protection against new types of crime ware (Stuttard, and Pinto 2011)


Any corporation that is not going to embrace the new technologies of business operation is as well plotting its own demise. Internet has created a plethora of opportunities for corporations. It offers unrivalled for corporations to acquire new customers and sell their products or services. There is no doubt that the future is online. But cybercrimes are threatening to take away these remarkable gains. It therefore beholds any corporation to take adequate measure to protect its information from cybercriminals. Citigroup has been a very successive e-corporation until it fell victim to cyber crimes. Enhanced measures are important to protect it information from potential hackers.

Reference list


Hurtado, P. (2011). Citigroup sued by cardholders over may security breach. Bloomberg. Retrieved on Nov. 17, 2011 from

Milhom, T. (2007). Cybercrime: How to avoid becoming a victim. New York: Universal- Publishers.

Smith, A. (2011). Citi credit card security breach discovered. CNNMoney. Retrieved on November 17, 2011 from

Stuttard, D. & Pinto, M (2011). The web application hacker’s: Discovering and exploiting security flaws. New York: John Wiley & Sons.