With cyber threats on the rise, it is common to hear about businesses falling victim to ransomware attacks and data breaches. If you are wondering what are cyber security breaches, they are devastating security incidents where information – often confidential or personal is accessed without authorization. In addition to carrying a significant financial burden, data breaches can severely damage a business’s reputation as well as damage consumers’ lives. A study performed by Symantec Security outlined that the most common form of data loss to security breaches in 2016 was personal information, such as complete names, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other personally identifiable information. As businesses and large corporations have such large amounts of data stored regarding their customers, they make an incredibly attractive target to cyber criminals eager to snatch up as much valuable data as possible in a single swoop.
Why Data Breaches Happen
Unfortunately, cybercrime is a profitable industry that continues to grow. When hackers can access personally identifiable information, they can easily steal money, compromise identities and sell personal details over the dark web. Data breaches are typically carried out in a few common ways.
Weak passwords that are easy for hackers to guess can be a simple way for cyber criminals to access your systems. Whole words are particularly insecure, which is why it is recommended to use strong, complex passwords and never share with anyone.
Out of date software can allow hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities. They can locate holes that enable them to sneak malware onto a computer that can steal data.
Visiting a compromised webpage and unintentionally downloading a virus or malware can take advantage of a browser or outdated operating system that may have a security flaw.
Phishing emails are frequently used by attackers to trick users into revealing sensitive information. Make sure that your staff understands not to open or download links from unfamiliar or suspicious sources.
Famous Data Breaches
While data breaches are common, there have been some particularly famous ones due to the level of exposure and businesses or organizations that were targeted. These are a few from recent years.
Equifax: In what remains one of the biggest attacks to date, compromising 143 million personal accounts in the US, United Kingdom and Canada, Equifax experienced a devastating data breach in 2017. Names, birthdates, driver licenses, and social security numbers were exposed. It remains the costliest data breach in history as regulation penalties, recovery costs and class action lawsuits have totaled over $439 million and expected to surpass $600 million.
Marriott: In 2018, the data of 383 million Marriott guests was exposed. While much of the stolen data remained encrypted, 5.25 million records were not, exposing passport and credit card numbers. Fines and legal costs for the breach were expected to reach approximately 200 million dollars.
British Airways: As many as 380,000 credit cards may have been comprised in a Malware skimming attack against British Airways in 2018. A malware code injection gained access to their global site and while the financial costs were not disclosed, it would have been significant.
As sadly data breaches are here to stay, businesses need to be offensive and be sure that they have the best protection possible. Working with an experienced Managed Service Provider like MBC that has a team of cyber security experts can thoroughly review your organization’s security measures and implement protection methods to help keep your data secure. To find out more about how we can help protect your business, get a free assessment today.