Managing Digital Footprints and Data Privacy dump warehouse, the dump furniture place
The year began with a report of a massive data dump involving more than two billion user credentials sourced from thousands of online breaches and leaks over the years. The collection of data — known as “Collection #1” — included usernames and passwords in plain text as well as sensitive documents, all amounting to 87GB. It was reportedly available for download since the last week of December and was actively exchanged in hacking forums. According to some reports, more sets of data will be posted and sold online, each containing more individual credentials and sensitive information than the first. Collection #1 has been taken down since publishing, but the ramifications of this dump is just the beginning for many of those whose data are included.
[Read: Data breaches 101: How they happen, what gets stolen, and where it all goes ]
Collection #1 alone contains more than 700 million unique email addresses and more than 21 million dehashed passwords. With all that data available for malicious activities, online misdeeds can cross over to offline criminal activities. If users recycle their credentials for different online accounts, then Collection #1 in itself will prove damaging to many. From socially engineered attacks such as phishing and fraud, to identity theft and blackmail, individuals’ and even organizations’ losses become exponential. Businesses who experience breaches not only could end up paying fines due to the GDPR and other national laws, but could also lose their customers’ trust, revenue, and reputation. Individuals can be targeted for scams and cyberattacks, and their subsequent activities online can be limited because of the feeling of loss of security.
With the growing availability of technology that keeps people online and connected 24/7 — thus creating big digital footprints and data stores —cybercriminals’ attack vectors increase as well. This means both users and enterprises must prioritize online privacy and data security.
[Read: The top three security stories of 2018 ]
Proactive Protective Measures for Enterprises
Enterprises are still the foremost target of cybercriminals for potentially getting the most profit. A single breach in an enterprise system could provide access to a treasure trove of data for cybercriminals: in-house servers, proprietary information, company assets, third-party suppliers, and client records. Here are some practices and principles for enterprises to protect their data and the privacy of their users or customers:
[Read: Bridging cybersecurity gaps with managed detection and response ]
Data Privacy for Users
Users also need to take responsibility for their own online privacy. Although enterprises are accountable for the data they collect, users should still follow best practices to minimize risks to their privacy and safety.
[Read: Balancing security and public interest: The GDPR and the public sector ]
At a time when data is currency and as we become more connected, cybercriminals will use all the resources available to them to take information and turn it into profit. Technology is expected to improve and develop at an even faster pace, but manufacturers still consider security to be an afterthought whenever more improved versions are released to the public. As we wrote in our predictions for 2019, data dumps such as Collection #1 will be more pervasive as cybercriminals become more intent in profiting from their malicious activities. Users and organizations need to be hand-in-hand in protecting themselves and their information. Enterprises must secure not only their company data but also their customers’ data and manage not only their own digital footprints but also their users’. Users, on the other hand, must play a role in their online safety and consider it part of being responsible digital citizens and enabling secured connections.
[Read: Turning your data against you: Cybercrime’s new norm? ]With additional insights from Robert McArdle and Rainer Vosseler.
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In the first half of this year, cybersecurity strongholds were surrounded by cybercriminals waiting to pounce at the sight of even the slightest crack in defenses to ravage valuable assets. View the report
The upheavals of 2020 challenged the limits of organizations and users, and provided openings for malicious actors. A robust cybersecurity posture can help equip enterprises and individuals amid a continuously changing threat landscape. View the 2020 Annual Cybersecurity Report
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