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What are data breaches?

In a recent data breach discovered by the Accellion incident, many of its clients including Kroger, Washington State Auditor, Jones Day customers are affected. Data breaches are not unusual, and it often happens to the largest companies in the world. The scale of data breaches has grown in recent years, and millions and even billions of people are affected by connected incidents. The data breaches occur from hacking and software vulnerabilities, and nothing is invincible from attacks and leaks

What is a data breach?

Data breach is known as an incident in which confidential, sensitive, and personal data may have been viewed, stolen, or captured by an unauthorized person. Some of the critical information includes personally identifiable information (PII), credit card information (CCI), personal health information (PHI), and intellectual property.

There have been more than 30K incidents over the last 10 years, and the numbers are growing. The scary part of data breaches is that the lost data becomes a public record as the data are sold in dark web or shared in hacker's communities. Personally identifiable information (PII) such as the name, email, password, address, credit cards, social security number, and even financial data are leaked through the data breaches.

The companies do their best to protect their data by spending millions of dollars, but vulnerabilities that exist in the software are used to hack into systems and steal personal data. There is nothing you can do to protect your data from those data breaches as you're using some apps and websites from the largest companies. You can only hope that those companies you're using do their job and protect their systems from hackers.

History of data breaches

The transition of data storage from customer premise equipment (CPE) to cloud played a significant role in widespread of data breaches. With the advancement in technology, companies adopt cloud computing and shift the workforce to the mobile environment causing data storage from local servers to cloud drives. The noticeable data breaches occur in the early 2000s and skyrocketed beginning around 2005.

Laws and regulations such as HIPAA and PCI compliance are created to provide guidelines for companies to protect their consumer data. Also, the requirement to notify affected customers in the event of data breaches help consumers aware of incidents

There has been a significant number of data breaches that occurred in the last decades including Adobe, Canva, eBay, Equifax, LinkedIn, Sony Pictures, Ashley Madison, and Yahoo to name a few. Those incidents affected millions of people and some are shared in the hacker's forums. Hackers generally breach someone's data to earn money, insult someone, or boasts of their abilities. The sad part of this horrible thing is that trend is increasing sharply and the scale is much larger than before. The number of affected records is increasing to millions and billions with no sign of stopping.

Conclusion

With more and more data moving to the cloud, hackers are more aggressive in breaching data from the largest companies in the world. As there is nothing we can do to prevent data breaches, we need to protect our online accounts with a strong password and 2FA so that no one can sabotage your personal and financial accounts even if one of your accounts is affected by a data breach. Fraudsters use stolen information to further damage victims with what's known as the identity theft.

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