The Devastating Impact of Data Breaches

Data Breaches Privacy

From accidental publication, to hacking, employee betrayal, stolen computers, phones or handheld devices and poor security, data breaches cause utter chaos. In an age where everything is online, data is at its most vulnerable.

Organisations across the globe all fear the day they hear the words “data breach”; defined as the release of information that is supposed to be secure, to the public, either intentionally or unintentionally.

In 2015 alone, innumerable data breaches have occurred, with every type of organisation – from the IRS to Anthem, eBay, Home Depot and Target (World’s Biggest Data Breaches in 2015) – being at risk. According to CRN, devastating breaches have already occurred throughout 2015.

Some of the top 10 breaches are listed as:

1. The Multi-Bank Cyberheist
When? February 2015
What? A billion-dollar bank cyberheist was discovered, affecting as many as 100 banks around the world.
How? Phishing and gaining access to resources such as employee account credentials and privileges.

2. Anthem
When? Revealed February 2015, occurred December 2014
What? Eighty million patient and employee records possibly accessed, including information such as names, dates of birth, social security numbers, healthcare ID numbers, physical and email addresses, employment and income data, and more.
How? The data was not adequately encrypted (according to the Wall Street Journal, it hadn’t been encrypted at all).

3. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
When? May 2015
What? Over a million healthcare members’ personal details (names, birth dates, email addresses) and subscriber information compromised. Luckily password encryption prevented social security numbers from being hacked.
How? Hacked

4. LastPass
When? June 2015
What? Cyberattack compromising email addresses, password reminders, server per user salts and authentication hashes.
How? Uncertain.

5. Harvard University
When? July 2015
What? One of eight higher education breaches, although it remains unclear what data was accessed by the hackers.
How? Uncertain.

6. Army National Guard
When? July 2015
What? Possible exposure of the social security numbers, home addresses and personal information of nearly a million current and former National Guard members.
How? Improperly handled data transfer to a non-accredited data center, by a contract employee.

7. The Hacking Team
When? July 2015
What? The Hacking Team supplies spyware to governments across the globe. The breach of its system resulted in the publication of more than a million incriminating emails.
How? Uncertain.

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Image Courtesy of Rob Pongsajapan at Flickr