The Rise in Data Breaches and Its Impact
As an increasing number of companies experience crippling security breaches, it appears there’s a wave of compromised data. The rise in the frequency of reports about data breaches on the news is mainly because of new laws that require companies to report such leaks. Prior to the passing of these laws, companies were under no obligation to notify the public or the government when they experienced a data breach. There are a variety of reasons responsible for the rise in data breaches, such as companies not investing in their IT security team, not implementing software patches immediately and not training employees in best practices for IT security.
Companies Need to Stay Up to Date With Data Security
A prime example of companies not investing adequate resources in cyber security could be the Wawa data breach reported in December 2019. The breach exposed the credit and debit card information of several users who had used Wawa stores and gas pumps. About a month before the breach, Visa had reported that gas stations have emerged as attractive targets for cybercriminals as many have been slow to adopt more secure payment processing technologies. Visa said the attacks could continue if gas stations used magnetic strip readers to accept card payments instead of chip and pin devices. After this breach, Wawa declared that they will be implementing chip technology at their gas pumps and expects all pumps to be upgraded in 2020. Had Wawa implemented the technology earlier, the breach could have been avoided.
The Equifax data breach from 2017 proved that companies are not fast enough in implementing software patches. The company’s security team had noticed a potential breach in March 2017, however, they failed to make the necessary patches till July 2017. By that time, significant damage had already been done and hackers were able to gain access to personal information, social security numbers and driver license numbers. These incidents indicate that there is a huge gap in terms of investment and proactiveness towards upgrading enterprise security.
Effect of Data Breaches on the Health Care Industry
Although it may seem like financial information is the only data that hackers are trying to get their hands on, the most sought-after records for hackers are health care documents. In 2019, the health care segment was exposed to 510 data breaches, representing a 37.4% increase in data breaches from 2018. The hackers use the data from these breaches mainly to forge insurance claims. In 2019, the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) faced a security breach where hackers were able to gain access to the names, dates of birth, balance and credit card information of patients.
What Is the Outlook on Data Breaches?
Companies across all industries are facing data breaches. Instead of focusing on what they should do after a breach, companies should start looking at preventive measures. Companies like CyLab are exploring ways to build more secure software and networks that can detect when somebody infiltrates the network. Major companies are at a much higher risk of getting their data infiltrated due to the sheer amount of data they carry. However, we are yet to see active measures being taken up by big players to prevent breaches. As the cost of data breaches continue to rise, we can expect more companies will start taking data security much more seriously in the future.
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