2016’s biggest data breaches
Digital security risks are the biggest threat to business today, as so much of our work is online. Data hackers continue to put us at risk every day, and 2016 has seen some of the biggest breaches of security ever. SyntaxIT Support London takes a look back at the past twelve months and asks – what were the biggest data breaches in 2016?
Way back at the start of the year, Austrian aerospace part manufacturing company FACC announced that they had been victim to an attack of digital thievery. This time however, the data was left intact. Instead the criminals stole approximately €50 million from the company. FACC said at the time that they were investigating how much damage this had caused them. It serves as a reminder to businesses that cybercrime isn’t just about data, but can also put very real things at risks – like money.
February: U.S Department of Justice
In response to U.S relations with Israel, hackers decided to show their anger by infiltrating the U.S Department of Justice’s database. Details on 10,000 Department of Homeland Security employees were released one day, followed by data on 20,000 FBI employees the next. This data included names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses, proving that data breaches doesn’t just put your business’s information at risk, but its workers too.
March: Premier Healthcare
The data breach which struck Premier Healthcare back in March was the result of a single laptop being stolen from the billing department of their Indiana headquarters. The laptop was password protected but not encrypted and, as a consequence, sensitive information regarding over 200,000 patients was leaked. Most suffered their names, dates of birth and other basic details being leaked, but Premier Healthcare also admitted that 1,769 individuals may have had their financial details leaked too. This is a reminder to protect not only your data, but the devices you view it on too.
As one of the biggest business-orientated social media sites in the world, it was scary back in 2012 when LinkedIn feel victim to hackers. Well, in May 2016 this episode came back to haunt them as the previously leaked usernames and passwords reappeared online. LinkedIn acted quickly to invalidate all passwords created before 2012, but it’s still unclear who hacked the site. This serves as a lesson to encourage frequent password resetting amongst all your employees.
August: Newkirk Products
Newkirk Products is a service provider which issues healthcare ID cards. In August, they announced a breach of data affecting up to 3.3 million people whose names, addresses, dates of birth and health insurance plans all leaked. This goes to show it’s important to remember just how far a data breach can reach, and how many people can be affected by it.
Speaking of the widespread damage hacking can cause, back in September Yahoo announced that the account details of more than 500 million users had been stolen. The thief was believed to be working on behalf of a foreign government. They were said to have stolen e-mail addresses, passwords, user names, dates of birth, telephone numbers, and security questions and answers, leaving millions of accounts at risk.
November: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
San Francisco’s public railway victim fell victim to a ‘spray and pay’ attack over Thanksgiving weekend – an untargeted attack resulting from malware being sent to loads of sources in hopes that one will download it. It resulted in 30GB of stolen data, including personal information of employees and riders. The hackers then demanded a ransom of roughly $73,000 in order for them to fix the system.
This hacking of the railway occurred because a single employee clinked a link and unknowingly downloaded malware files. This highlights the importance of making sure all employees are aware of the risks and signs of data breaching.