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But there’s a lock on my door …..

To continue on from last week, we are discussing data breaches and how your personal information could be exposed for nefarious means.

Data breaches are malicious attacks on a network in order to get inside the firewall and take information that is deemed valuable.  How valuable is your social security number (USA) or passport number?  VERY!  These numbers are linked to you and all that you have medical files attached to, own, lease, and/or bank with.

“It is estimated that there is a hacking attack every 39 seconds.” (1.)

It seems no one is immune and we have only to review the headlines over the last few years to remember some of the large corporations and government entities that have been breached.  Do you remember the Heartbleed security breach uncovered in 2014?  It had been running for two years and had done some serious damage to many of the worlds “secure” information sites.

“We’re not talking small time sites like hot rod forums or collectible card game swap sites, we’re talking banks, credit card companies, major e-retailers and e-mail providers. Worse yet, this vulnerability has been in the wild for around two years. That’s two years someone with the appropriate knowledge and skills could have been tapping into the login credentials and private communications of a service you use (and, according to the testing conducted by Codenomicon, doing it without a trace).” (2)

Referencing some data breach statistics directly:

  • The average cost of a data breach currently sits at $3.86 million. That number rises to $8.64 million if you only analyze the USA. [IBM]
  • Worldwide cybercrime costs will hit $6 trillion annually by the end of 2021. That number will rise to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. [Cybersecurity Ventures]
  • Remote work increased the average breach cost by $137,000. [IBM]
  • The average cost per lost or stolen record per individual is $146. [IBM]
  • The average ransomware payment rose 33% since 2020 and now sits at $111,605. [Fintech News]
  • By the end of 2021, ransomware damages will reach a total of $20 billion, 57x greater than the damages in 2015. On average, there is a ransomware attack on a business every 11 seconds in 2021. [Arcserve]
  • The average price for a Business Email Compromise hack is $24,439 per case. [Verizon]
  • The average cost of a malware attack sits at $2.6 million. [Accenture]
  • In 2020, phishing accounted for 1 in every 4.200 emails. Every minute, companies lose $17,700 due to a phishing attack. [Symantec]
  • The average cost of information loss, the most expensive aspect of a cyber attack, is $5.9 million. [Accenture]1.

These numbers are staggering and it is helpful for us to understand how we have left some information behind when we log in to different sites on our various devices.

There are a variety of security applications that we can utilize to mitigate some risk.  Having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) client as part of your home set up is a valuable tool.  You can Google and read many of the options based on your location, and this helps to suppress allot of your information as you are surfing websites.

Breaching data bases is a full time business for some – not only individuals but government actors as well.  It is our job to shelter ourselves as best possible from having our information commoditized if we don’t wish it to be.

Related to the above statement it will be interesting to see how this year plays out with FaceBook as various countries look to change the large monopoly of information that FB currently enjoys.  I’m sure we will be discussing in the coming months…

“If you are not paying for it, you become the product.”(3)  True words we should all review as we move through the day using all this technology.

Next week we will discuss the in-depth workings of VPN’s and how they relate to our previous discussions.

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