Over the last few years, data breaches have grown in both frequency and severity. According to Gemalto, data breaches compromised 4.5 billion records in only the first half of 2018. The most recent of these high-profile scandals is the Marriott data breach, where hackers stole private details from around 500 million customers. These details include names, addresses, credit card and phone numbers, as well as passport numbers and travel details.
While it’s not the largest data breach by any means, 500 million is no small number for such a sensitive breach. The data stolen can be used by criminals to commit identity theft, where they could convince targeted individuals to give up vital, personal information, like passwords or access to banking sites. The more convincing a phishing email is, the more likely someone is to reply to it.
Data breaches on the rise
There has been such an increase because, to date, companies have faced no real penalties for poor storage and protection of data – apart from reputation loss. Yet, in the near future, organisations will be fined enormous sums for allowing data to leak. People are also in a semi-state of ignorance, or deliberate ignorance, of safe computing practices. Cyber theft is becoming the fastest growing crime in the world but there is a severe shortage of cybersecurity talent – with unfilled cybersecurity jobs to reach 1.5 million by 2019.
In the wider context, according to the National Crime Agency Cyber Crime Assessment 2016 report, cybercrime accounted for 53 percent of all crimes in 2015 and it’s rising year on year. Cybercrime will continue to develop into a highly lucrative and well-organized enterprise. With cybercriminals beginning to invest in research and development. The annual Mary Meekers state of the Internet report for 2017 reports that network breaches are increasingly caused by email spam/phishing. In fact, spam increased 350 percent in one year. Similarly, ransomware is also showing worrying trends. Malwarebytes show an increase from 17 percent in 2015 to 259 percent in 2016. Across the board, we are seeing increases in attacks and breaches like Marriott will only worsen the problem.
Safety online is becoming a greater concern by the day.
As technology assumes a more central role in our lives, from entertainment to education, from socializing to buying basic goods, our digital footprint acquires greater weight and importance.
The same goes for our protected data, as weak passwords and scams like phishing can damage our reputation, relations, and finances, among other things.
The infographic that follows will show you how big companies that provide free service (read: social networks) get to know you better than your own parents and what they do with this knowledge. It will also help you learn more about the most common tactics used to snatch your data.