Newsflash: Thousands of unencrypted records leaked

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Newsflash: Thousands of unencrypted records leaked

What it would be like if this shocking headline was directed at your company.

How would you explain the breach to thousands of your clients and hundreds of your business partners and suppliers?

Big news
Data leaks like this are big news when they are of the scale of the 763 million unencrypted records leaked in a recent breach at Verifications IO. The files included verified emails, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram account details, credit scoring and even mortgage data such as amount owing and interest rates charged.

Mike Wills for CSS said: “This was just the latest nightmarish leak of a staggering 1,300 to make the headlines, but thousands more went unreported because they affected small and medium-sized companies which didn’t have the international profile of Facebook and Saks Fifth Avenue.”

Hackers
A recent National Crime Agency report claimed: “Teenage hackers are motivated by idealism and impressing their mates rather than money.” But they’re not the ones you need to be worried about.

A report from Verizon Data reveals that 61% of all breaches in 2018 occurred in businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees.

For Sale
The personal data of millions of individuals is up for sale on the Dark Web where your credit card details could be on sale for less than £1. More worryingly it is also seen as valuable ammunition for the fraudsters who specialise in ‘spear phishing’ of high value business targets.

Said Mike Wills: “Make no mistake about it data=money and that’s what drives the hackers to plunder the IT systems of any company which could make them a fast buck.”

Ransomware
Ransomware is a growth area in hack attacks on small and medium-sized businesses where the hackers steal your data and then try to sell it back to you.

Malware is introduced to your IT system, usually via an attachment or link in an email, and you can be locked out until you pay the ransom to receive the unlock code.

Smart businesses plan for such an attack by having robust technology in place backed up with rigorous security protocols and processes.

How can you protect yourself?
The soaring increase in cybercrime is a 21st century reality and one you simply can’t afford to ignore

Mike Wills commented: “Some of these measures may seem pretty basic, but they are nonetheless important:

  • Encrypt your data
  • Establish strong passwords. Implementing strong passwords is the easiest thing you can do to strengthen your security
  • Put up a strong firewall
  • Install antivirus protection
  • Update your programs regularly
  • Secure your laptops
  • Secure your smartphones
  • Be vigilant and check the source of the emails hitting your inbox
  • Train staff to be aware of the potential dangers and to report anything suspicious before opening it

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/03/10/2-billion-unencrypted-records-leaked-in-marketing-data-breach-what-happened-and-what-to-do-next/#4fbc79996b0d
https://medium.com/@AxelUnlimited/enough-is-enough-2018-has-seen-600-too-many-data-breaches-9e3e5cd8ff78
https://www.principal.co.uk/resources/articles/what-to-do-if-your-business-is-hacked