Data leaks continue to mount

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Data leaks continued to mount in 2015

In January 2015, I received four consecutive new debit cards. Each was a result of a major data leak. First Target, Home Depot and a few more.

The bank transaction logs indicated that I was shopping in multiple brick and mortar stores in multiple states at the exact same hour (Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, …). The thieves started by buying items ranging in price from $1.99 to $5 before moving above $250 per shopping spree.  A few months later I received a couple of letters from OPM (US Gov) advising me to take precautions because my records were among the massive amount of records that were stolen during the OPM data breach(s). I couldn’t help but think about all the sensitive information gathered during the background checks for employment, security clearances etc.  The enemy can now track “their new high value targets”.

2014 and 2015 kept many other types of businesses on their toes as well. Millions of records have been leaked and no industry was spared. Countless digital assets, trade secrets and individuals’ information were vulnerable.

Leaks affected all market segments and were measured in terms of records and of information sensitivity. The economic effects were devastating. They affected lives, caused tremendous stress, harmed reputations and caused heads to roll[5].

The following are some of the industries that suffered major leaks recently[2][3]:

  • Healthcare payers and providers
  • Financial and banking
  • Retail
  • Government agencies
  • Military
  • Oil and Gas
  • Technology firms
  • Telecoms

Some leaks are hard to track others leave some foot prints and the causes range from poor security to greed.

The types of data leaked range from names, emails, addresses, credit cards, to social security numbers and trade secrets[1],[2],[3],[4].  A recent article by Steve Ragan in CSO [2] reported that 191 million voter records have been leaked.

These records contain details that may put many Americans in danger (think people running from abuse, physical threats, identity theft and much more).

Sources of data leaks

Leaks have many causes. To cite a few:

  • Leaks by accident
  • Stolen or lost storage devices
  • Stolen or lost computers
  • Theft by insiders
  • Hacking
  • Theft by employees of cloud storage providers

Were you a victim of a recent data leak? what are you doing to protect your data? Do you have a data protection insurance? How about a reputation insurance?

 

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References:

[1] http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches-hacks/

[2] http://www.csoonline.com/article/3018592/security/database-configuration-issues-expose-191-million-voter-records.html

[3] http://datalossdb.org

[4] http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-03-13/target-missed-alarms-in-epic-hack-of-credit-card-data

[5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericbasu/2014/06/15/target-ceo-fired-can-you-be-fired-if-your-company-is-hacked/

Data leaks continue to mount was last modified: April 2nd, 2018 by aRoot