In the digital age, we increasingly rely on technology and online services. Consumers are constantly updating their profiles with personal information while businesses are finding new ways to engage customers online. This ever-increasing transfer of data poses increasing risks of data breaches. As a result, more banks, retailers, and internet businesses are victims of data breaches each year. A data breach), is an incident in which Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, medical records or financial records (credit/ debit cards included) are at risk of being accessed by nefarious parties in their electronic or physical form. This data can be accessed by many methods, including insider theft, hacking, phishing, third party, employee error or negligence, accidental web or internet exposure and physical theft.

In 2016, the amount of data breaches increased 40% compared to 2015. If current trends continue, this number looks to be even higher in 2017. Businesses made up 432 out of the 980 breaches. In 2016, over 2.3 billion records were revealed to unauthorized users. With an average cost of $4 million per breach, it is important to recognize the different types of organizations at risk. In this article, we review some of the more significant instances of data breaches since our last update.

March 24, 2016 - Verizon’s Data Breach Fighter is Victim to a Data Breach of its own. According to Brian Krebs, an independent cyber security journalist, customer contact information was stolen from Verizon's enterprise unit appeared online. He personally discovered the cache while exploring the web.

May 31, 2016 - Myspace and Tumblr hit by large data breaches from 2013. A hacker known as Peace, who is believed to be the same person who stole more than 164 million LinkedIn users' data, was trying to sell the passwords and emails of 360 million Myspace users for six bitcoin — roughly $2,800. Like in this instance, it is common for data breaches to be discovered years after the breach occurs.

June 07, 2016 - T-Mobile Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell Customer Data. In the Czech Republic, one of the T-Mobile subsidiaries arrested an employee who had accessed customer data and was attempting to see the data.

September 23, 2016 - Yahoo Reports 500 Million Accounts Stolen. Last year, Yahoo reported a data breach that occurred in 2014, whom they believe was a “state-sponsored actor”, or someone acting on behalf of a foreign government. This incident is one of the largest breaches ever, at least of those we know about.

November 28, 2016 - Navy Reports Data Breach after Hewlett Packard Laptop Compromised. The U.S. Navy warned more than 130,000 sailors after a data breach, when a laptop belonging to an employee of the Navy contractor Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. was compromised.

March 19, 2017 - Saks Fifth Avenue Exposed Personal Info On Tens Of Thousands Of Customers. The personal information of tens of thousands of Saks Fifth Avenue customers was accidentally made publically available when the company’s website failed to offer an encrypted login connection. The records included email addresses, product codes for the items customers expressed interest in buying, some phone numbers and also dates/times and one of a handful of recurring IP addresses.

An important step to prevent a data breach is to take preemptive measures through a coherent data security strategy. This includes:

  • documentation of proper asset management;
  • knowing where IT assets are during use and disposalInx;
  • transparent reporting for the recovery or disposition of IT assets.
Akooba offers the strategy mentioned above to help protect you and your data. Akooba customers know what is happening to each device and how its data was destroyed.

Want to learn more about the topics addressed above? Check out these links for more information:

Verizon’s Data Breach Fighter Gets Hit With, Well, a Data Breach. How does a data breach fighter get hit with a data breach? Well Fortune can tell you why it happened to Verizon. [Verizon]
Myspace and Tumblr hit by large data breaches from 2013. Myspace isn’t so outdated anymore; they still have some of your data and NY Daily News will tell you how. [Myspace]
T-Mobile Employee Arrested for Trying to Sell Customer Data. We found it interesting that an employee wanted to sell customers data, read Cellular News to find out how he was caught. [T-Mobile]
Yahoo says 500 million accounts stolen. Not many people use yahoo as much as they used to, but the ones who do were hit pretty hard and Money CNN explains how hard. [Yahoo]