As companies become increasingly reliant on modern technology and new digital solutions, their increased cyber presence unfortunately makes them more vulnerable to attacks.
It’s a logical sequence of events, as an increase in time spent online will doubtlessly lead to more opportunities for attack. Plus, with information and Data being as valuable as currency and their resultant storage solutions also residing in the Cloud, there’s more scope and potential for harm as far as hackers are concerned.
The bottom line is that not only are corporate Cyber-Crimes on the rise (at a rapid rate, too), but successful ones can prove fatal to an organisation.
It’s a damning indictment of the scope of said Cyber Crimes that not only are the “elite”, Fortune-500 companies being hit, but businesses and industries across the board. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most significant Data Breaches of 2020 for an idea of just how severe this risk truly is.
In Jan 2020 (worryingly, before lockdown even started!), Microsoft disclosed the compromisation of an internal customer support Database. Said Database contained user analytics and other confidential information, and this breach led to this being exposed online.
Sounds minor, right? Except it wasn’t. In an instant, over 250 million customer records accumulated over 14 years were exposed online, with no password needed to access them. IP Addresses, Email addresses and other confidential customer info were all leaked – meaning that in spite of their higher-level security, encryption and protection, even the creators of the Internet weren’t safe from malicious intent.
One would think that a behemoth such as Microsoft would have impenetrable defence systems, and for the most part this is true. However, the unfortunate reality is that with the ever evolving, innovative nature of Cyber Crimes, there’s no sure-fire way to ensure that your business will be perpetually protected (which is, incidentally, why we highly recommend Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing).
Yes, that Facebook. The same one which owns Whatsapp and Instagram, which we see every day (and which crashed not so long ago).
In April 2020 (just as lockdowns kicked in and users skyrocketed), more than 267 million Facebook profiles were put up for sale on the Dark Web. The cost of one user profile? Just $600.
There are a number of motivators for someone to steal your identity (which we’ve covered in detail here), but the leaked information also made it possible for Cyber Criminals to systemically target and hack these compromised individuals. Phone numbers, Email addresses and entire identities were made available for misuse. The entire population of South Africa is around 61 million. This leak alone had an impact on more than four times that amount.
July 2020: Twitter suffers an unprecedented hacking of celebrity accounts. This stemmed from a spear-phishing attack on the networks employees, which in turn allowed hackers to access their Database and go wild. We don’t mean minor celebrities like Carrot Top either – some of the accounts compromised included Barack Obama, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill gates.
These accounts were used to perpetuate a Bitcoin scam and use their direct messaging feature to prey on unsuspecting members of the public. These individuals were scammed into investing money into dubious ventures (hey, if Bill Gates himself asks me to personally invest in a product, I’d pay attention) and subsequently lost said investment.
The worst part is that only a month prior to this attack, another security incident at Twitter HQ led to billing information for millions of users being similarly compromised.
By April 2020, Zoom was being heralded as one of the saviours of the pandemic – a shining knight way before J&J stole their thunder. That is, of course, until hackers took advantage of their inadequately secure network and gained access to over 500 000 user accounts.
Attackers were able to breach their credentials and, you guessed it, post them up for sale on the Dark Web. This led to “zoombombing”, where Cyber Criminals could jump in (or take over) a live meeting and wreck-havoc. From listening in to confidential discussions to screen sharing disturbing imagery to unsuspecting viewers, the Zoom breach led to many a case of identity theft (and PTSD).
We really miss the days of Mxit.
When it comes down to it, nobody is ever 100% safe from Cyber Crime. These attacks just scratch the surface or recent breaches, as everyone from Virgin Active to MGM, Estee Lauder, Nintendo and the Irish Health System were all subjected to similar incidents. It goes to show that no matter how big your organisation or the industry it caters for, a breach is a breach and attackers will show no mercy. Which begs the question – if even the biggest of brands have become victims of Cyber Crimes, can your business really afford not to take it seriously?