Experts Urge Complete Cybersecurity Defense—2.6 Billion Records Exposed by Cyberattacks in 2 Years

  • By Steven
  • Dec 08, 2023

Experts Urge Cybersecurity Defense-2.6 Billion Records Exposed in 2 Years

Cybersecurity breaches are at epidemic proportions; in the last two years, cybercriminals have stolen over 2.6 billion consumer records from thousands of organizations. The breaches target more than individuals—they target data from healthcare networks, academic institutions, small businesses, and governments. The attacks come at a destructive cost. Where criminals use personal information for extortion, and the trust of the public is ever-decreasing. 

Apple, one of the world’s most prominent technology innovators, commissioned a study regarding cybersecurity from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor—the sagacious Dr. Stuart Madnick. Madnick’s report delves into the statistics, threats, and consequences of these recent cybersecurity attacks; he directs readers to how they and companies can protect themselves, even when cybercriminals steal sensitive data.

How Do These Attacks Occur? 

Cloud environments are a significant source of data breaches (pg 4), but not because they are inherently unsafe. Instead, they are a significant source of breaches because as the cloud tech further develops, technical staff may not have the skill or training to implement data protections (pg 8). The skills gap that may exist for some organizations is significantly prominent in the form of vendor exploitation events (pg 15). Cloud misconfigurations allow these cyberattacks, including unrestricted access ports, unsecured servers (pg 8), and unencrypted personal information (pg 7-8).

What Information Gets Stolen in the Attacks? 

The information stolen in a cyberattack is specific to the organization itself; organizations are not ignorant of their obligations to consumers and patients, often making direct cyber assaults highly challenging for hackers. Consequently, hackers have turned to attack the vendors and software these organizations use (pg 9); they manipulate back- and side-door accesses to breach multiple organizations simultaneously (pg 14). 

This year’s most widespread data breach came from Progress Software’s MOVEit event. In this event, more than 65 million individuals have had their data exposed, including their personally identifiable information, financial accounts, medical data, government-issued credentials, and sensitive data (pg 16). 

How Must Companies Handle Breaches? 

According to Madnick’s report, 98% of organizations continue to work with vendors despite having had breaches in the last two years (pg 14); an organization’s willingness to continue using breached vendors is a significant determinative aspect of future breaches. If cybercriminals find one weakness, other vulnerabilities will be sought (pg 8). 

Organizations are not blameless in these events. Madnick suggests “limiting the amount of personal data they store in readable format” (pg 3), which limits cybercriminals’ use of the data. Further, organizations can create defenses that mitigate a lot of data misuse when those attacks occur. They only need to properly encrypt the data and require encryption keys (pg 8). 

What Becomes of Stolen Consumer Information? 

The ability of criminals to commit double extortion (pg 13) creates an incentive for organizations to avoid paying ransoms; this, in turn, makes cyberattacks more aggressive and dangerous for the public (pg 12). More than a loss of privacy, these attacks may create financial losses and follow-up attacks, and in the case of medical information, they may physically endanger the data owner (pg 18).

What Happens in the Aftermath of a Breach? 

No organizations, vendors, cyber experts, or individuals are safe from data breaches (pg 19). Cybersecurity is not an organization-only problem; it’s a comprehensive approach to life in cyber environments. Apple’s measures filled iCloud with end-to-end encryption and drastically reduced the chances of cyber threats to their users. However, even end-to-end encryption alone is insufficient if criminals access the data.

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Instagram Vulnerability Allowed Hackers Access to Control Your Phone

Security experts Check Point Research discovered a critical vulnerability while examining Instagra ... Read More

Alien Malware Infects More than 226 Mobile Apps and Steals Bank Data

As reported on September 24, 2020, by ZDNet and ThreatPost, a new strain of malware named “A ... Read More

Universal Health Systems Hit by Ransomware Attack

Universal Health Systems (UHS), a Fortune 500 company owning more than 400 hospitals across the co ... Read More

Exchange Server Bug Exposes a Big Risk to Hackers

Months after Microsoft released a patch to fix a serious flaw in MS Exchange Server, more than 61% ... Read More

Clients’ Bank Data Exposed in Blackbaud Ransomware Attack

Blackbaud software was victim to a ransomware attack last May, and new information suggests that c ... Read More

Latest Articles

Cementitious Vendor—CGM—Network Compromised by 315k Data Breach

Cementitious Vendor—CGM—Network Compromised by 315k Data Breach

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, CGM is a nationwide cementitious vendor for industries and construction projects. They are a leader in manufacturing, labeling, and distributing custom cement and patching products.

Chattanooga Heart Institute Updates on 2023 Network Cyber Attack

Chattanooga Heart Institute Updates on 2023 Network Cyber Attack

Patients with cardiovascular issues may appear in one of the Chattanooga Heart Institute (CHI) facilities in Tennessee and Georgia.

Oklahoma’s Largest Non-Profit Health System Breached; 2.3 Million Exposures

Oklahoma’s Largest Non-Profit Health System Breached; 2.3 Million Exposures

INTEGRIS Health is the largest non-profit healthcare network in Oklahoma and surrounding regions. The network includes medical and surgical centers, hospitals, emergency rooms, hospice options, addiction recovery programs, and a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.

Free Identity Exposure Scan
Instantly and Securely Check if Your Personal Information is Exposed on the Dark Web or Sold by Data Brokers
Please enter first name
Please enter last name
Please select a state
Close
Free Identity Threat Scan
Instantly Check if Your Personal Information is Exposed
All fields below are required
Please enter first name
Please enter last name
Please enter a city
Please select a state
Please enter an age
Please enter an email address
Close