Data breaches are not a new phenomenon. Of course, the method of illicitly obtaining information may change and the scope of the attacks may grow, but such is to be expected in a constantly changing world with ever- evolving technology. There have been plenty of headline grabbing data breaches over the last year. However, it isn’t totally clear whether breaches are actually on the rise or whether the victims of breaches now have the means to detect invasions (which perhaps had occurred in the past and just weren’t noticed). Regardless, network infiltration and information theft are rampant and concerning, and the following are the data breach trends experts anticipate in the coming year.
There is obviously legitimate concern that outsiders, competitors, or opportunists will hack into a company’s network to steal valuable information and exploit it for financial gain, whether by directly using it or selling it to someone who can. Nonetheless, companies should be equally (and perhaps even more) concerned about the actions of their own employees, as insiders (particularly disgruntled workers) are also potential threats. In some cases, a company insider with access to important information may accidentally compromise data, but there are insiders with insidious intentions as well who may jump at the chance for a pecuniary advantage.
Cloud Companies Beware
With cloud services essentially multiplying like gremlins, it can be difficult for companies to discern the differences between the many service providers, including the level and sophistication of their distinct security measures. Because of this, some companies may erroneously rely on a cloud-based storage service with subpar safety standards and store sensitive information that is then inadvertently filched or disseminated. For companies in need of cloud-based services to store sensitive data, using 'free' services or cutting corners could result in an accidental risk, so adequate research and investment is warranted.
Clamoring for Credit Cards
Credit card companies and banks have been working to improve the security of credit cards and the systems that process credit card payments (stuff about processing chips and PINs). There is an October 2015 deadline for retailers to upgrade to a more secure credit card system that should also help diminish credit card fraud. Although that is a necessary step, there is likely to be a frenzy of credit card fraud in the months leading up to the transition since thieves will essentially want to get it while the getting is good.
As more and more doctors’ offices and medical facilities utilize electronic medical records, they will become increasingly susceptible to attack. In addition to containing a host of sensitive and personal information, clever criminals have thought of and will continue to think of ways to benefit fiscally from pretty much any information they manage to obtain. And, a lot of folks employ apps and websites to track their health, so that may succumb to unwanted exposure as well. Plus, with the complicated and shifting health care system (think Obamacare and insurance in general), health care fraud of all forms is sure to ensue.
While data breaches aren't going anywhere, the good news is is that with a few simple security measures like strong passwords, implementing two-factor authentication, and selecting reputable, secure software, you can greatly reduce risk for both yourself and your company.