As we approach the threshold of 2018, we bring with us hindsight that some of us wish we’d had earlier. If you have been paying any attention to the cyber security domain this year, you know that data breaches have been at the forefront of the mind of the consumer. The unprecedented number of attacks has made it clear that 2018 is going to bring with it new cyber threats that we’re going to have to prepare for.
Numerous data breaches this year have hit the headlines, drawing attention to the often overlooked world of network security. The disruptive activity that hackers have caused over the past twelve months have resulted in the loss of credibility, money, and time for various companies around the world.
One of the biggest stories to break this year about cybercrime was the Equifax data breach that happened on September 7. 143 million consumers who utilized the credit agencies’ online services had their personal information stolen, marking the incident as one of the largest and most significant data breaches of personal information of all time. One of the main complaints that consumers had against Equifax was their slow response. The breach was discovered on the 29th of July but wasn’t made public until September. The consensus was that Equifax did not have their consumers’ interests at heart while they were trying to resolve the problem.
Another notable victim was eBay, whose customer data was made public due to “an improper feed signal” between Google’s Shopping platform and their own. eBay was responsible for the unwitting publication of customer purchase histories. Redundancy of various checks and quality control may have been the key to avoiding such a simple data vulnerability. The lesson that can be learned with this case is that sometimes you may be your biggest, active cyber security threat to your business. Negligence is often the best in for hackers who mean to do your company harm.
The greatest shock of the year in the cybercrime domain was probably the WannaCry ransomware attack that took place in May. The attack infiltrated more than 300,000 computers across 150 countries, leaving billions of dollars lost in its wake while causing data loss that was detrimental to many public and private entities. Targeting the Microsoft Windows operating system, hackers utilized the EternalBlue vulnerability in a version of Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) protocol that had been released in a prior data breach involving NSA hacking tools and vulnerability information. Machines that were not running the most current patches were placed at risk of getting held hostage.
With all the dangers that have appeared in the past twelve months, stopping to review your current security infrastructure and data restoration processes is advised. Whether your business is being targeted directly through vulnerabilities, your IT infrastructure is outdated, or your cyber protocols have no oversight, there have been enough cases of tragic cyber security breaches this year alone to encourage us all to develop a greater level of data resiliency and security. Business continuity is at serious risk every day, and must be maintained diligently.
Updating systems regularly and staying cognizant of the events happening in the cyber realm can keep you ahead of the curve. Vulnerabilities and data risks this year have plagued both large and small corporate entities; it’s not just one group getting attacked. The questions you need to be able to answer are, “Is my company ready for a cyber crisis?” and “Do we have a thorough enough plan of action?”, because your data is just as valuable as the corporate budget. If you can be certain about anything at all in 2018 it’s the fact that uncertainty is the most certain thing. Cyber security can’t be left to chance in a world where data is not just a commodity, but the life blood of business continuity.