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Saturday 16 December 2017
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9 Cyber Security Breaches of 2016

Every year, the IT industry loses billions of dollars due to cyber-attacks. A report on global risks in 2015 warned about rising cyber-security risks in a world that is becoming increasingly connected. The report highlighted how global businesses are unprepared towards security breaches with 90% of companies around the globe admitting that they were not adequately prepared.

There were over 6.8 billion connected devices in 2016 according to a report by Gartner. This was a 30% increase from 2015. This has raised serious concerns for security experts, governments, businesses and users recovering from malicious attacks.

These attacks not only cause financial mayhem and endanger information; they can also ruin a company’s reputation.

2016 was the year where many companies were affected by cyber-security breaches. This article highlights some of the cyber-security breaches in 2016.

1. Philippines Commission breach

What can happen if an electoral commission is hacked and the information of every registered voter is compromised? This was the case in the Philippines when when hackers managed to breach the records of the Philippines Commission on Elections. Sources indicate that 55 million Filipino voters were affected by the breach.

2. Wendy’s credit card breach

Wendy’s is one of the well-known international fast-food chains. The business was hit by a malware attack that affected not less than 1,025 distribution chains in the US. The malware was specifically designed to steal credit card details from the customers. Authorities are still discussing the issue.

3. Email credentials breach

Hold Security, a consulting firm in cyber security revealed that the Russia’s underworld stole close to 272.3 accounts. The underworld managed to breach 57 million Mail.Ru, Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft accounts.

4. ATM scam

In this incident, ATMs located in Japan were used to steal $19 million from South Africa’s Standard Banks within three hours. Convenience stores cash machines were used to withdraw the stolen money. However, this could have been avoided if the ATMs were well monitored.

5. French police security breach

The privacy of 112,000 French police officers was compromised by this security breach. It was allegedly by a former employee as an act of revenge. The hacker uploaded files with their home addresses and telephone numbers to Google Drive.

6. Kiddicare customer data theft

This baby care retailer is located in the UK. Its website was breached, leaking the names, addresses and telephone numbers of over 790,000 customers. People using the site are being warned by UK security experts to be careful as online scammers can use the stolen information.

7. Seagate

In 2016, Seagate was amongst the many victims of a W-2 attack. Reports revealed that there were breaches in the company’s data storage and the W-2 tax documents were leaked. The leak included salaries, social security numbers, and documents of all current and past employees. A successful phishing scam is the one which led to the breach.

8. Centene data breach

Cyber criminals mostly target healthcare and retail industries. Centene, a US health insurer was also a cyber-attack victim in 2016. This attack resulted in the loss of hard drives containing more than 950,000 extreme records of people.

Similar attacks also happened in the US where 1.1 million records were stolen. Data breach in Blue Cross also led to the loss of million records. All these attacks happened in the same period.

9. LinkedIn breach

This security breach was reported in 2016 though it happened in 2012, that’s why it’s included here. 6.5 million accounts were compromised, which forced the company to respond with a mandatory password reset for these accounts.

Four years down the line, hackers dumped email and password combinations of 117 million LinkedIn accounts online. Before the breach occurred, it was reported that unsalted SHA-1 algorithm was used to encrypt the LinkedIn passwords. The algorithm was later replaced by salting and hashing, which were more improved versions.