Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Increasing Threat of a Data Breach

            We all remember what happened to Target last year when hackers broke into their computer systems and stole valuable information from millions of customers. This information included credit and debit card information as well as names, mailing information and passwords. The company has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, with a $148 million loss in the last quarter alone. Target has, and continues, to take steps to help those affected and to eliminate the risk of this occurring in the future. Sadly, this is but one breach in an ongoing and worsening trend.
            Recently Hold Security, a security firm in Milwaukee uncovered a data breach that puts the Target hackers to shame. A group of Russian hackers have collected 1.2 billion user names and password combinations from 420,000 different websites (Perloth). This ongoing problem with security breaches stems from the widespread use of a system of usernames and passwords by companies and websites that store customer information. Most people will use the same, or a slight variation of a name and password combination of every website that they use. This makes it very easy for hackers to steal information. Once they get a name and a password, they can find your information on many different websites.  Any company with a customer database could be affected by a data breach. Even restaurants are vulnerable. Recently the restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s had consumer information stolen in 33 separate locations all across the country.
            Any business with a customer database is susceptible to a breach. Even with the best firewalls and protection software, these things can still occur. As breaches continue to get worse (the average cost of a data breach has increased 15%, from $3.1 to $3.5 million in the last year (Perloth)), businesses are searching for new ways to protect and cope with them and unfortunately, the losses they create. There are a few ways to protect yourself from a data breach, but even the best guards can fail. Sometimes, despite the best efforts, the only way to manage a data breach is to insure against it. This is why Cyber Liability Insurance is a great choice and there is no better place to start than filling out our online application at today.

 Perlroth, Nicole, and David Gelles. "Russian Gang Amasses Over a Billion Internet Passwords." The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 Aug. 2014. Web. 06 Aug. 2014.