At this point in technological history, it’s almost commonplace to hear about a data breach at a major corporation or bank. An entire virtual industry has been created with its focus on helping individuals and businesses alike protect their information from hacks. In recent months and years, attacks against big corporations have appeared to become more and more successful. Yet with each of these hacks, we’ve been able to learn valuable lessons about security.
Recent data problems can show us how hackers get to our information so we can better protect ourselves in the future!
eBay – In May 2014, eBay announced that it had suffered an information breach, compromising the information of over 100 million of their customers. Hackers were able to use passwords to hack accounts and access personal information to use on eBay and elsewhere. So what did we learn from this breach? First, it reinforced the notion that passwords, no matter how strong they are, should be changed regularly. Yet even if a password were changed, hackers still could access information through security settings. Some users had to learn the hard way that default security settings make security patterns predictable and easier to access.
Chrysler – A group of security researchers recently demonstrated just how easy it is to remotely hack into a Jeep Cherokee’s onboard computer systems via Internet connection to the entertainment console. But these hackers don’t simply have the ability to blast music and cold air. They also have access to the vehicle’s transmission and braking system, able to stall the engine or lock up the brakes. In Jeep’s efforts to create a smartphone on wheels, auto manufacturers have cut corners and wires to make everything run smoothly. Chrysler has created a patch to defend against similar hacks, but it must be downloaded via USB to be effective. From this breach, we can gather that not all devices are created safely. Vehicle hacking isn’t a thing of the future anymore. Luckily, we already have people equipped to find and prevent these attacks before they happen.
Sony – November 2014 brought one of the most high-profile data breaches to date when Sony announced it had been hacked. Five movies were illegally released online, including the controversial comedy The Interview. Yet more crippling was the release of as many as 47,000 social security numbers and other forms of personal information, leaving an incredible amount of people vulnerable to identity theft. Yet the biggest takeaway from this hack is another fairly simple fix. Much of Sony’s accessible information, such as passwords to sensitive accounts, was sent in unencrypted emails. So the lesson here is to keep sensitive information out of easily accessible sources. Even if you’ve hidden your SSN in a secure location, sending that account’s password over an unencrypted email destroys any security you had.
Great Glitch Day – While nothing on this day has been identified as a breach, July 8 is still a day that will live in infamy as the New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines, and the Wall Street Journal all had computer bugs, leaving sites down, flights grounded, and traders in stock limbo. Some people theorize that some sort of joint attack on these three was coordinated, but those claims are largely unwarranted so far. Still, for three high-profile organizations such as these, a disruption like this can be devastating. So what do we take away from this day? Plan, plan, plan. Preparation is the key to keeping situations like this from arising in the first place. And, if they do, you will have a way to get back up on your feet and keep your offline systems from being susceptible to breaches.
With big names like eBay, Sony, and the New York Stock Exchange succumbing to data issues, it’s no wonder that cyber security is a must-have for all individuals and businesses. Hackers target these businesses because of their international status, but that doesn’t make a hack on you or your business any less devastating. To upgrade your business and ensure your data is always in a secure environment, consider the experts at Network Specialists. Call us today at (314) 531-2840 or check us out at for more information!