Seems like almost every week brings more news about massive amounts of personal and private data leaks. 2019 Is almost over but the reports of breached records keep coming in. So far, The Defence Works has counted 10,331,579,614 breached records and the number is getting bigger as we speak.
It seemed like the was a downward trend in leaked information from 2017 to 2018 but 2019 is looking scary and an increase of over 54% is looking like hard reality. 2017 held the previous record and 2018 was just 3.2% lower with 5 billion exposed records from 6500 publicly disclosed breaches according to security intelligence vendor Risk Based Security (RBS) report.
So how is 2019 looking?
Data breaches increased by 54% in 2019 and we have still two months to go. IT Governance has listed all the major incidents and added up the numbers. So far the total number is over 10 billion and it doesn`t even include the latest data breach that hit the media October Adobe data breach exposed nearly 7.5 Million Creative Cloud users data. No passwords or financial data was exposed.
"At Adobe, we believe transparency with our customers is important. As such, we wanted to share a security update.
Late last week, Adobe became aware of a vulnerability related to work on one of our prototype environments. We promptly shut down the misconfigured environment, addressing the vulnerability.
The environment contained Creative Cloud customer information, including e-mail addresses, but did not include any passwords or financial information. This issue was not connected to, nor did it affect, the operation of any Adobe core products or services.
We are reviewing our development processes to help prevent a similar issue occurring in the future."
Cyber Attacks in 2019
Different successful cyberattacks that took place in 2019 include attacks against the Hungarian Development Center's digital database, the Health Ministry of Malaysia, Hong Kong Stock Exchange and even US Secret Service.
We have also witnessed a large number of cyberattacks against various schools and universities and health care establishments.
With 43% of online attacks aimed at small businesses and only 14% of them are prepared to defend themselves, it’s getting easier for criminals to earn from the shady undertakings. According to Hiscox, an insurance carrier listed on the London Stock Exchange, its costing small businesses $200 000 on average per incident and 60% of the companies go out of business within 6 months of being victimized.
Ransomware incidents in 2019
Cybercriminals have reported launching ransomware attacks against at least 621 government agencies, healthcare providers and schools in the first nine months of 2019 according to a report by MSSPAlert.com
They also noticed four trends emerging in 2019:
- Cybercriminals Target MSPs
- Ransoms Are Increasing
- Cyber Insurance Drives Ransom Payments
- Criminals Prioritize Email and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
Another notable finding this year is the increased concern of Americans which might be due to the increase in awareness of the issue. 75% of Americans claim they are worried about threats to their personal data.
Data Breaches in 2019
The most notable instances of people’s data going wondering are definitely Facebook, Adobe, Capital One, and Zynga. A whopping amount of 419 million records that included phone numbers may have been compromised and exposed in an online database. This massive breach was part of the decision to fine Facebook with a $5 billion dollar fine for improper use of personal data.
Zynga, the maker of one of the most popular mobile games on the planet, was a victim of cybercriminals, when records of 218 million Words With Friends mobile/social game may have been accessed. The breach affects Android and iOS players who signed up for Words with Friends before September 2, 2019.
Capital One is ranked 10th in the list of largest banks in the United States by assets and it has 755 branches across the country. The data breach to Capital One servers in March exposed the personal information of nearly 106 million of the bank's customers and applicants from 2005 up to 2019. Among the personal data exposed were names, addresses, dates of birth, credit scores, transaction data, Social Security numbers, and linked bank account numbers.
How to keep your personal data protected?
When it comes to big data breaches there is very little you can do except pay very close attention to how much personal data and to whom you give. Remember that every time you check into a place on Facebook or search a route in Google Maps you leave that bit of information to the tech giants. As time has shown even the biggest of the companies are in danger of getting attacked. The less you share the safer you are in case a data breach happens.
One of the most effective ways you can secure all your most important accounts is using 2FA (Two-factor authentication) This keeps your accounts safe even if your password leaks or gets stolen or if you are using public WiFi and someone “overhear” your online activities.
Hackers love public WiFi networks. One of the dangers of using a public WiFi network is that data over this type of open connection is often unencrypted and unsecured, leaving you vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. Rogue Hotspots are also something to be wary of - this is an open hotspot that has a similar name to a legit hotspot. When you connect to the rogue hotspot, hackers can easily intercept your data and inject malware onto your device.
Using a good VPN is a MUST, if you connect to public networks. A VPN encrypts your data so if a hacker happens to tap into your online data you are fully protected.
VPNselector has ranked 10 best VPNs by speed, security and price to make it easier for anyone to pick one and keep all online activities secure.
So the year is not yet over and there can still be more news about large data breaches but already this year has broken every record in a really bad way. Personal data has become one of the most valuable commodities so it is getting more and more profitable for hackers to steal the goods.