But media attention to data breaches may be creating too much awareness of the threat of data loss and too little understanding of the underlying causes, said analyst James Van Dyke of Javelin Strategy and Research.
Van Dyke plans to devote part of his time speaking on a show panel about a recent report produced by his company that contends identity theft led to fewer related losses in 2006 ($49.3 billion) than in 2005 ($55.7 billion) despite a mounting number of consumer records that have been lost or stolen.
"The biggest issue might be that too many people take simplistic view and assume that it's all about the Internet and data breaches, but it's really much more varied than that," said Van Dyke. "It's very much a shared problem, and merely handing out blame is unhelpful in terms of addressing the real issues."
Avivah Litan, analyst with Gartner, said that businesses walk a thin line when deciding about the reporting of potential breaches to customers and partners, including credit card issuers like Visa.
The business community is anxious to point out that every breach is different and that the exposure of credit card data has not proven as disastrous for consumers as some parties have predicted, she said.
Litan will host a panel discussion at the summit that, among other topics, will discuss the media's approach to handling data breach stories and whether or not the press has become too sensational in reporting some of the incidents.
"Companies have taken a lot of heat for not disclosing breaches faster, but they've been doing so in part because of their work with law enforcement -- they want to get that out and try to come to some consensus about how to handle these situations while catching the crooks," said Litan. "Issuers want to know immediately, but criminals will hide if they know they're being watched; there's a need for some system in place that better serves the needs of all parties."