As we mentioned previously, we lives large portions of our lives online.
Whether it’s on our favorite social media platform, making purchases online or completing an online application… the bottom line is, our personal information is at risk.
The argument can be made that personal information is more precious than gold in our society.
Given that, a logical assumption would be that the websites, social media and other platforms would take our security seriously.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case…
Data breaches which leak your personal information happen almost daily. We often hear of major data breaches from large companies and governments. These databases that store our most vital information are the target of hackers and because of theses breaches millions of people’s personal, most sensitive data is affected.
So right now you may be wondering if YOUR information has been compromised…
The likelihood is high if you have been involved with any of these major data breaches that have taken place in recent years.
5 Largest Online Security Breaches
If you’ve tried to get a line of credit or checked your credit score, you know that Equifax is one of the major personal data aggregators of people’s private information.
The level of personal information available on their servers is staggering.
Talk about irony…
Here is a group that is allowed to collect information on all of us… then provide (and in our opinion, manipulate to a degree) that personal financial information to others to allow them to make a decision on our ability to have a line of credit, a job and many other things… and here THEY are, putting OUR most sensitive data at risk, potentially creating credit worthiness issues for millions…
It might be funny… worthy of prime time comedy routine… if it didn’t ruin the lives of millions of people.
The Equifax security breach exposed the private information from over 100 million Americans to the hands of hackers and agents on the dark web.
As if that wasn’t bad enough… we, as consumers still have very little control over the information that companies such as Equifax are allowed to collect about us and it is nearly impossible to function in the United States without a line of credit.
Poshmark is a popular website many use to buy and sell clothing. It was also the target of hackers attempting to steal customer information.
Unlike the Earl Enterprises breach, Poshmark did not lose their customers’ billing information (like card numbers)… rather, the stolen information included customers’ full names, social media accounts and most dangerously, their passwords.
Why is a data breach that includes customer’s passwords so serious?
Quite frankly, because as a whole, we are lazy… when it comes to passwords, we don’t want to or just simply can’t remember 100’s of different passwords.
So what do we do?
We reuse a few different passwords all the time… so a breach of one of those passwords, along with the digital footprint we leave online, becomes a treasure trove for hackers.
Read About Passwords & Password Management Here
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is popular internationally. The messaging app that is used by upwards of a billion people worldwide, recently released a warning for its users to update their app from a potentially compromised version.
However, unlike most other cyber security breaches, only select WhatsApp users were targeted and it was likely an attempt at surveillance.
Known for their emphasis on user privacy, WhatsApp encrypts all outgoing and incoming messages to prevent third parties from spying on users and as such is particularly popular among social and political movements. The private messages of targeted users were accessed through a vulnerability in the voice calling function of the app.
Though WhatsApp provides its users with a potential additional layer of security by using encryption… not all social media platforms and messaging apps can say the same. As a matter of fact, these very apps and platforms are often the greatest offenders to our online privacy.
What messaging privacy?
Read About Elixxir Messaging App Here
Right now you are probably thinking… ransomware is not a ‘company’ that was breached… and you would be right.
Although not a single attack, all levels of the government throughout the United States and across the globe as well as major companies based in numerous nations… all have been victims of ransomware.
In a nutshell, ransomware is a particular type of cyber attack that encrypts and holds a user’s critical files until a monetary ransom is paid.
These attacks cost companies and governments alike millions of dollars, not only in ransom payments that are demanded, but in total amount of money necessary to overhaul their online infrastructure and increase the security of their networks.
Even with everything we’ve listed here, we have barely scratched the surface of the data breaches that have taken place in recent years.
So, the question becomes… what does the future hold?
While no one has a crystal ball to help predict future events, it’s safe to say that breaches to personal data online will only continue.
In this case, the old adage… ‘the best offense is a good defense’ seems apt.
The time is now to take proactive steps to increase your online privacy by adapting the needed changes to your online activity and employing the best online security measures you can afford.