This week glaring oversights lead to data disasters, ransomware puts governance out of action, and a new study shows the enormous cost of data breaches.
Dark Web ID’s Top Threats
- Top Source Hits: ID Theft Forums
- Top Compromise Type: Domain
- Top Industry: Education & Research
- Top Employee Count: 501+
United States – Westech International
Westech International: Nuclear maintenance subcontractor
Risk to Small Business: 1.510 = Severe
Cybercriminals associated with the MAZE ransomware group exfiltrated company data before encrypting certain networks. The stolen files were subsequently posted online. Westech International is working with cybersecurity experts to identify the scope of the incident and restore access to encrypted data. In the meantime, the company will likely face significant fallout as its business relies on an industry that demands the highest cybersecurity standards.
Individual Risk: 2.279 = Severe
The company did not detail the specific information compromised in the breach, but the incident includes company emails and payroll information, which likely contain personal and financial data. Anyone impacted by this breach should immediately notify their financial institutions while taking steps to protect their personal information against misuse.
Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Business: Stolen data can be quickly disseminated on the Dark Web. To combat data misuse and to prevent further cybersecurity incidents, today’s organizations need insight into this nefarious marketplace. With information traveling quickly among bad actors, it could be the difference between stopping further misuse and succumbing to a more problematic cybersecurity incident.
United States – Joomla
Exploit: Unsecured database
Joomla: Content management system
Risk to Small Business: 1.708 = Severe
Developers failed to secure backup files on a cloud storage platform, leaving people’s personal data exposed to the internet. The storage platform doesn’t automatically encrypt data, but enabling these security features is simple, making this incident an unforced error that was easily preventable. While the platform has secured the database, this breach will test users’ loyalty at a time when people are more willing than ever to leave businesses that can’t protect their information.
Individual Risk: 2.675 = Severe
The data breach exposed personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, website addresses, business titles, encrypted passwords, IP addresses, and newsletters subscription preferences. Users should update their Joomla account passwords and any other account credentials using the same details. In addition, they need to carefully monitor incoming messages as this information is often used in phishing scams.
Customers Impacted: 2,700
How it Could Affect Your Business: Billions of account credentials are compromised every year. Companies committed to cybersecurity shouldn’t rely exclusively on password integrity to protect their most critical information. Instead, make account security tools, like two-factor authentication, accessible for all employees.
United States – San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS)
Exploit: Unauthorized database access
SFERS: Public employee benefits program
Risk to Small Business: 1.980 = Severe
An unauthorized user accessed a critical database managed by the program’s third-party vendor, causing a significant data breach. The breach, which occurred on February 24, 2020, wasn’t discovered until the end of March. An analysis of the incident couldn’t be completed until this month, leaving many people unaware that their information might be compromised. This data breach reveals the cybersecurity risk that accompanies third-party partnerships but also the often-lengthy delay between breach identification and notification.
Individual Risk: 2.602 = Moderate
The data breach did not compromise Social Security numbers or bank data, but it did include members’ names, addresses, dates of birth, and beneficiary information. This data can be used in a variety of different cybercrimes. Most notably, cybercriminals are using stolen data to craft spear phishing messages that can result in even more problematic cybersecurity incidents.
Customers Impacted: 74,000
How it Could Affect Your Business: Third-party vendors are an inevitable part of doing business in 2020. However, these relationships expose companies to potential data breaches that are outside of their control. In this environment, having an extra layer of protection to prevent network or account access is a critical component of any defensive strategy.
Canada – The Nipissing First Nation
The Nipissing First Nation: Administration for First Nations Tribe
Risk to Small Business: 1.702 = Severe
A ransomware attack disrupted communications throughout the administration and resource network. The attack, which was first detected on May 8th, was partially thwarted when the organization prevented it from encrypting networks, communications infrastructure was impacted. To repair the damage, Nipissing First Nation hired a cybersecurity team to investigate the cause and to identify solutions. Despite avoiding some of the worst consequences, the organization will still face an expensive recovery process that will impact its operations at a critical time.
Individual Risk: At this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach.
Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Business: While cybersecurity specialists believe that company and customer data was spared in this attack, ransomware attacks often double as data breaches when bad actors exfiltrate data before encrypting networks. Organizations should regularly assess their defensive landscape to ensure that they are prepared to defend against the latest ransomware trends.
Canada – The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC)
Exploit: Accidental data sharing
MASC: Agriculture products and services provider
Risk to Small Business: 2.847 = Moderate
An employee accidentally attached a document containing the names and contact information for more than 130 clients. The incident is an embarrassing oversight, requiring MASC to notify its clients of the self-inflicted data breach. In response to the breach, MASC acknowledged that it’s implementing new policies and procedures to guard against a similar data breach in the future. However, there is no guarantee that these steps will assuage clients, who could shy away from partnering with organizations without data security processes in place from day one.
Individual Risk: 2.922 = Moderate
The breach exposed organizational contact information, which could include certain employees’ personal data. This information can be used to craft convincing phishing scams, and employees should carefully evaluate the authenticity of incoming communications.
Customers Impacted: 134
How it Could Affect Your Business: Accidental and malicious insider threats pose a meaningful data privacy risk to every organization. While many organizations are rightly focused on external cyber threats, it’s important to account for a 360-degree approach to cybersecurity that includes effective policies and procedures to prevent insider threats from compromising company data.
Spain – 8Belts
Exploit: Unsecured database
8Belts: Online learning platform
Risk to Small Business: 2.161 = Severe
Developers failed to secure an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket, exposing users’ personal data to the open internet. The database includes both critical company files and users’ personal information, making it an especially problematic cybersecurity incident for the company. 8Belt frequently partners with prominent organizations to provide educational services, and this data breach could jeopardize those important relationships. In response, the company will need to undergo a significant PR effort to restore customer confidence, an effort that is undoubtedly predicated on the reprioritization of data privacy.
Risk to Small Business: 1.710 = Severe
This data breach impacts both staff and students of the online learning platform. It includes their names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, National ID numbers, and Skype IDs. Those impacted need to carefully scrutinize income messages, as compromised data often reemerges in convincing-looking spear phishing campaigns that can compromise even more sensitive data.
Customers Impacted: 150,000
How it Could Affect Your Business: Billions of records are routinely compromised through accidental and malicious data exposure. This data is fodder for phishing scams, which rely on personal information to craft authentic-looking messages that inspire engagement. In response, every company needs a robust, dynamic phishing scam awareness program to ensure that these malicious messages don’t compromise company data.
United Kingdom – NHS Orkney
Exploit: Accidental data sharing
NHS Orkney: Healthcare provider
Risk to Small Business: 1.974 = Severe
An administrative error allowed COVID-19 test results to be sent to a local business. NHS Orkney has sent notices to data breach victims and notified governing authorities of the incident. In response, the organization is instituting new data management policies meant to prevent a similar incident in the future. This privacy violation comes at a critical time as COVID-19 testing is seen as a way to contain the virus, but it will be more difficult to convince people to be tested if they are worried about privacy violations as part of the process.
Individual Risk: 2.768 = Moderate
The agency declined to detail the specific information transmitted in the breach, but medical tests often include patients’ most sensitive personal information. Even though this information was only transmitted to one outside business, those impacted should know that this information could be used in a variety of nefarious ways if it fell into the wrong hands. Therefore, they should continue to monitor their accounts and credentials for signs of misuse.
Customers Impacted: 51
How it Could Affect Your Business: While many employees present a severe data security vulnerability, companies can transform team members into cybersecurity assets by providing the right training. However, these initiatives are useless if they are implemented after a breach. Instead, organizations should make phishing scam and data management training a top priority from day one.
New Zealand – Earthquake Commission
Exploit: Accidental data sharing
Earthquake Commission: Crown Entity
Risk to Small Business: 1.616 = Severe
The Earthquake Commission has come under public scrutiny after the organization accidentally shared peoples’ personal information with a company lawyer and their client. The organization was quick to blame an employee who failed to implement data security stopgaps intended to prevent such an error. The breach has been a PR disaster for the company, which has been slow to notify victims and repair the damage. As a result, the Earthquake Commission is experiencing media scrutiny and intense customer blowback as those angered by the incident speak publicly about their frustration with the company.
Individual Risk: 2.101 = Severe
The breach exposed customers personal data, including names, addresses, and payment details. Victims should carefully monitor their accounts for potential misuse, while continuing to press the company to take necessary steps to secure this information.
Customers Impacted: 8,000
How it Could Affect Your Business: Data breaches are expensive, but the less-quantifiable reputation damage that always accompanies a breach can be equally problematic. As this incident demonstrates, today’s consumers have little patience for cybersecurity lapses, and they are not assuaged by apologies. Therefore, businesses wanting to thrive in today’s digital environment need to be proactive about data security, considering it a critical customer demand in 2020 and beyond.
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
Risk scores for The Week in Breach are calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.
Strong Cybersecurity Pays for Itself – Data Breach Costs Exceeded $1.2 Trillion for US Companies in 2019
Data breaches have enormous consequences for companies, including recovery and repair expenses, reputational damage, potential regulatory penalties – all of which spell financial loss. This week, a new report illustrates just how significant the financial consequences of a data breach can be. In 2019, some major data breaches spelled disaster for heavyweight firms. With more than five-billion records compromised in 2019, breaches are estimated to have collectively cost companies $1.2 trillion, nearly double the sum from 2018.
Healthcare was the most targeted sector in 2019, with 382 total breaches, a startling 100% year-over-year increase. It’s shaping up to be number one in 2020 as well. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has incited cybercriminals to increase their attacks on the healthcare sector, which will certainly increase risks in the year ahead. In addition to healthcare, banking, insurance, education, government, and retail were among the top targets of cybercriminals.
Taken together, personally identifiable information was the most sought after commodity. In response, it’s clear that companies need to take action to secure their systems and data now, especially as remote work compounds the risk of a cybersecurity incident. While today’s threat landscape is expansive and pervasive, every organization can improve its defensive posture by addressing the most prominent risks, including unauthorized access, phishing scams, and malware.
Need to Know:
460 Million Records Reported Stolen in May
A tally of May cybersecurity instances found that 460 million records were compromised last month, marking another staggering total in an already-historic year for cybersecurity. However, the sum only represents the beginning of the problem, as many data breaches are going unreported as companies fear regulatory repercussions and customer blowback. In addition, many data breaches also expose reams of sensitive personal data, making it difficult to quantify the full scope of the problem.
For businesses, this information has two prominent implications. First, there is a growing need to identify compromised data on the Dark Web. As more records are stolen and distributed in the dark corners of the internet, companies need eyes and ears to know if their information is among the mountain of stolen data.
What’s more, the sheer number of compromised records makes it more important than ever for organizations to put additional barriers between their IT infrastructure and bad actors. If your staffer is reusing a password from a compromised retail account or using their pet’s name to log in, that can put you at risk for a breach by making it easy for cybercriminals to find a way into your systems.
Dark Web ID can help keep accounts secure by alerting you when your staff’s compromised information hits the Dark Web. This cost-effective solution gives you peace of mind and gives you an opportunity to mitigate threats (like your staffer’s unwittingly compromised login credentials) before they become disasters.