The Era of the Data Breach

Almost every few weeks there is a large company in the news announcing they have had a data breach.  Target, Home Depot, and Ashley Madison are some of the largest most recent companies to fall to hackers.  Now this isn’t a few people sitting at home in their parents basement. The Target data breach seems like it was written out of a Michael Bay film. Although Target has been quiet on releasing data on how the breach had happened, Security blogger Brian Krebs reported the hackers gained access to Targets network by using login credentials they had stolen from an HVAC heating and cooling vendor the retailer used.  The access was granted to the vendor to monitor HVAC system statuses remotely. With this they were able to upload malware onto the retailers POS systems compromising around 70 million credit and debit cards.

Data Breach Capital of the USA

Although having your data stolen is stressful, it’s no where near the amount of stress and fear  37 million users of Ashley Madison, the top online adultery hookup site, are feeling as their data is floating around online.  A lot of people can’t help but feel this is a bit of karma but none the less, now is the time to become a divorce attorney.
Infographic: Large-Scale Data Breaches Affect Millions of Users | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

As our lives revolve more and more in the cloud we are leaving ourselves exposed to new threats every day.  Not that I advocate falling off the grid. I’m worried that the technology we use now is getting less secure by the minute. There was some hope that using biometrics could provide the ultimate in security, until Jan Krissler, a well known hacker showed how he could create a 3D printed version of someones fingerprint from a high resolution photo and gain access to that users account. Whats even more scary is there is no way you can change the password of your fingerprints. You can read more about this in The Guardian. Because of this, biometrics are now looked at as a secondary authentication and no longer a silver bullet.

Get Secure Now

Here is some advice you can use right now to make your online accounts more secure. They always say use a unique password for each website and it’s a pain to remember all of those passwords, unless you have a format! For example, if you create a 4-6 digit “pin” number you can prefix that to any password that is easy to remember.  For example you could make your pin number 8854, and you are logging into Facebook.

Your password could be 8854F@c3b00k or some derivative of that. By having a format you follow, if you ever get hacked you just need to change your “pin.” Although this isn’t foolproof, with a password of that format with that many characters, you’re looking at over 200 years to crack. Read more about Bits of Entropy.

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