2017 sees a record high in data breaches
companies unprepared for cyber-attacks

2017 sees a record high in data breaches

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It’s not unusual for us to blog about the continual rise of data breaches. It’s a hot topic, and the trend is undeniably worrying.

2017 has reportedly seen a record high in data breaches, and there’s no signs of slowing down.

Cybersecurity specialists Risk Base Security conducted a mid-year report, and the results are staggering. As of June 30th, there have been 2,227 public data breaches reported. In just six months, a whopping 6 billion records were stolen; that’s reportedly more than the number of stolen records for the whole of 2016.

Is anyone safe?

With 7 and a half billion people in the entire world, anyone with an online presence or who has had their personal information put online in any way is, let’s face it, likely at risk of having their information compromised. It seems that no enterprise or sector is impenetrable as banks, hospitals, retailers and technology companies have fallen victim to hackers.

We’ve also witnessed countless data breaches whereby thousands of records were exposed by administrative errors and inquisitive employees snooping on data without authorisation.

When hackers access payment information…

Popular electronics retailer GameStop admitted they were hacked in June and warned customers that the cybercriminals managed to access payment card information. Hackers seem to be having greater success with stealing banking information as evidenced by the recent hotel data breaches as well. The InterContinental Hotel Group and other smaller hotels reported cyberattacks to their front desk card payment systems and online reservation services. Some 1,200 properties belonging to the global hotelier were reportedly affected.

Should we be surprised?

In an age where technology has been developing at an exponential rate, these data breaches should probably not come at a surprise.

“We’re building this connected world, but we don’t have the workforce to protect it,” warns executive director of National Cyber Security Alliance, Michael Kaiser. The excitement and the money that comes with developing new apps and software to make our lives more connected, easier and more efficient comes with the responsibility to protect it.

And that’s where we are failing.

Individuals, companies and organisations are neglecting this responsibility to afford adequate protection to the data they control as cybersecurity is still being largely ignored. Entities are not giving cybersecurity the respect it deserves and the extent of damage data breaches can have. Consumers who have their personal data compromised can suffer real financial and psychological harm; not to mention having to ward off cybercriminals trying to contact them to scam for more information.

Organisations who destroy customer trust and confidence through data breaches may well suffer huge financial losses as well as an onslaught of legal proceedings brought against them.  Market intelligence firm Juniper Research estimates criminal data breaches will cost businesses an incredible £5.89 trillion over the next five years.

Taking precautions

Kaiser likens cybersecurity to normal everyday precautions:

“You can’t worry about getting into an accident every time you drive. Bu you can take precautions to keep yourself safe.”

The responsibility to protect personal data lies with the individual as well as the data controller. You’ve probably read this enough times to make you blue in the face, but setting up secure login systems is incredibly important. Setting up a strong username and password combination can help towards protecting your information from being so easily accessed by criminals.

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