The Week in Breach: 01/08/20 – 01/14/20 | CloudSmart IT

The Week in Breach: 01/08/20 – 01/14/20

This week, ransomware closes a company’s doors, an online store gives away customer data, and the UK has a rough year for data security.

Dark Web ID Trends:

Top Source Hits: ID Theft Forums
Top Compromise Type: 
Top Industry: 
Non-Profit Organization
Top Employee Count: 
1 – 10 Employees 

United States – Alomere Health

Exploit: Phishing attack
Alomere Health: General medical and surgical hospital

extreme gauge Risk to Small Business: 1.777 = Severe: Two employees fell for a phishing scam that gave hackers access to patients’ protected health information. The first breach occurred between October 31, 2019 and November 1, 2019, while a second breach took place on November 6, 2019. In response, the company is updating its email security protocols, an effort that won’t restore the stolen data nor repair the company’s already-damaged reputation. In addition, Alomere Health could face regulatory penalties because of the nature and scope of the data breach.
twib-severe Individual Risk: 2.285 = Severe: The compromised employee email accounts stored patient data, including names, addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, health insurance information, along with sensitive diagnosis and treatment details. In addition, some patients had their Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers exposed. Alomere Health is offering free credit and identity monitoring services to those impacted by the breach, and anyone affected should enroll in these services. In addition, they should be especially critical of online communications, as the stolen data can be deployed in phishing scams that can collect additional personal data.

Customers Impacted: 49,351
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Phishing scams are the leading cause of data breaches, but they are also entirely avoidable. With the cost associated with a compromise continually escalating, training employees to identify and avoid phishing scams is a relatively low-cost initiative that can transform employees into a robust defense rather than an imminent vulnerability. 

United States – Contra Costa Library System

Exploit: Ransomware
Contra Costa Library System: Library network


Risk to Small Business: 2.333 = Severe: A ransomware attack disabled the entire library network, impacting all 26 branches. While buildings remain open, patrons have to bring their library cards to a location to manually check out books. The incident will bring significant recovery costs to the library network, which just updated its systems in 2018. For an organization with limited resources, this attack can reduce their ability to meet customer needs and invest in future opportunities.

Individual Risk: At this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Ransomware attacks come with high recovery and opportunity costs. Especially for SMBs that operate with more limited budgets, these increasingly common attacks can dampen their financial outlook and prevent them from embracing opportunities in the future. However, ransomware always requires a foothold, and every organization can take steps to ensure that they are not inviting these attacks to damage their business. 

United States – Wyze

Exploit: Unprotected database
Wyze: Low-budget home security company

extreme gauge Risk to Small Business: 2.222 = Severe: A cybersecurity company identified an exposed database containing the personal details of millions of Wyze users. The breach, which has not been confirmed by Wyze, is an unforced error that could have serious and financial and reputational implications. Smart home technology is often targeted by hackers due to its sensitive nature, and many consumers are already unwilling to work with companies that cannot protect their personal data, especially when it impacts their peace of mind and security.
twib-severe Individual Risk: 2.428 = Severe: Users’ personal data, including email addresses, list of cameras, camera names, Wi-Fi SSID, API tokens, and Alexa tokens, were all publicly available from the exposed database. Those impacted by the breach should reset their account passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and closely monitor their accounts for unusual activity.

Customers Impacted: 2,400,000
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Today’s consumers are beginning to make buying decisions based on a brand’s data security reputation. Especially in a sensitive sector like smart home technology, a strong cybersecurity posture is a prerequisite for long-term success. Unforced errors, such as leaving a database exposed, become especially egregious. Of course, mistakes do happen, and businesses need a response plan to contain the event and to identify the scope of the problem as quickly as possible. 

United States – The Heritage Company

Exploit: Ransomware
The Heritage Company:  Telemarketing and fundraising firm


Risk to Small Business: 1.333 = Extreme: An October ransomware attack ultimately forced The Heritage Company to close its doors. Shortly before Christmas, the company informed the staff that their operation was no longer tenable, even noting that the CEO was paying salaries out-of-pocket in an attempt to keep business going while systems were unavailable. Unfortunately, three months after the attack, The Heritage Company was no longer financially solvent and chose to temporarily shutter its operations. The company may try to reopen if systems can be restored, but it appears likely that the institution, which existed for 60 years, was put out of business by a ransomware attack.

Individual Risk: At this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: This incident is an especially prescient warning for SMBs who often have less cash on hand that rely on critical IT systems to manage their operations. As security experts noted, the company’s ultimate failure wasn’t financial solvency but an inability to adopt cybersecurity standards that could have prevented a ransomware attack from crippling their operations. Even simple steps, like implementing two-factor authentication, can keep hackers out of your IT infrastructure, which prevents a potentially-devastating data disaster before it takes place. 

United States – Children’s Choice Pediatrics

Exploit: Ransomware
Children’s Choice Pediatrics: Pediatric healthcare provider

twib-severe Risk to Small Business: 1.555 = Severe: A ransomware attack encrypted patient data and exposed patient records to hackers. The attack, which was discovered on October 27, 2019, encrypted the healthcare provider’s entire network. When records were restored, the provider discovered that some were irretrievably deleted. In response, Children’s Choice Pediatrics is upgrading its cybersecurity protocols to ensure that they don’t give a foothold to future ransomware attacks. However, the opportunity cost, reputational damage, and recovery expenses will continue to weigh down the practice now and for the foreseeable future.
twib-severe Individual Risk: 2.285 = Severe: While hackers often encrypt company data to extract a ransom, many are turning to data theft as a means to exact additional money from a ransomware attack. In this case, some patients’ personally identifiable information may have been exposed to hackers. Those impacted by the breach should stay vigilant in monitoring their online accounts and scrutinizing digital communications as this data is often redeployed in phishing attacks that compromise additional data.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Reactive cybersecurity measures can’t undo the damage of a data breach. With the holistic cost associated with exposure at an all-time high, companies have millions of reasons to embrace a robust defensive posture against cybercrime. Often, this means starting by securing accounts using best practices, like two-factor authentication, to keep intruders out. 

Canada – eHealth

Exploit: Ransomware
eHealth: Private, online insurance marketplace


Risk to Small Business: 2.333 = Severe: A ransomware attack on eHealth has encrypted network files containing the confidential medical data for some Saskatchewan residents. The company was quick to note that no patient data was stolen in the attack. They also acknowledged that business is grinding to a halt as employees are unable to use many of the company’s systems. However, eHealth is not negotiating with the hackers, instead choosing to restore operations on their own, a brave decision that will still come with a considerable cost.

Individual Risk: At this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Companies are encouraged not to pay a ransom, but every recovery initiative still bears costly implications. Notably, ransomware attacks carry less-quantifiable reputation costs that can have consequences long after system access is restored. Simply put, when it comes to responding to ransomware, the only good option is to take steps to prevent an attack from occurring in the first place. 

United Kingdom – Perricone MD 

Exploit: Malware attack
Perricone MD: Skincare cosmetics brand

extreme gauge Risk to Small Business: 2 = Severe: The online payment platform for Perricone MD has been infected with payment skimming malware, impacting customers in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. However, hackers were only able to exfiltrate data from one country. Incredibly, the malware was planted on the website more than a year ago, giving hackers plenty of time to refine their efforts to steal sensitive data. For a company that relies on online sales to fuel its bottom line, such an egregious cybersecurity event can be devastating, and Perricone MD will have to work to restore their customers’ trust.
twib-severe Individual Risk: 2.285 = Severe: Perricone MD customers that made an online purchase in the past year should review their account records and financial details for unusual or suspicious activity. In addition, they should report the incident to their financial institutions to ensure that their accounts aren’t used for additional crimes. Finally, credit and identity monitoring services can continue to monitor customers’ credentials even after the immediate urgency wears off.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Online stores are quickly surpassing brick-and-mortar stores as the preferred shopping location for many consumers. Companies that want to compete in this field have to prioritize data security at every level. Customers are demonstrating an unwillingness to spend money on websites that can’t or won’t protect their information, which makes data security initiatives a critical, bottom-line priority for every online retailer. 

United Kingdom – London Stock Exchange

Exploit: Cyber-attack
London Stock Exchange: Stock exchange for the city of London


Risk to Small Business: 1.777 = Severe: Authorities are reexamining an August outage at the London Stock Exchange that was initially attributed to a software glitch. The disruption prevented traders from buying or selling shares for more than 90 minutes and impacted prices on two stock indexes. The incident could have been caused by hackers trying to destabilize markets for their own gain or even set the stage for a more nefarious scheme in the future. The lengthy time to identification reflects the difficulty that many companies have when identifying and addressing cyber threats.

Individual Risk: At this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Having the ability to identify and quickly respond to a data breach is a critical element of any business. Because threats lurk all around us, even the most well-defended companies can incur data loss events. When it comes to data breach recovery, time is money, and a finely-tuned response plan can lessen the repercussions of a breach by allowing companies to recover more quickly.

Risk Levels:

1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.

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