Dissecting Data Breaches
Data breaches do not just end with scandal. If 2015’s incidents are to go by, we can expect more potent attacks resulting from compromised data. The users affected by the Ashley Madison breach, for example, not only had to endure embarrassment, they also experienced rounds of online extortion after their personal data was was publicly leaked. Milan-based IT-company, Hacking Team also had a rough year after their data, which included a database of vulnerabilities and exploits, was used in cyberattack campaigns in Japan and Korea.
The previous year's top reported incidents were consistent with the analysis we did on data breaches. Healthcare remained the most affected industry, with the Anthem and Premera Blue Cross breaches as the most notable incidents. Combined, over 90 million patient records were exposed. This included social security numbers, clinical data, and even some financial details.
On a federal level, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach—one of the largest government-related breaches in US history—exposed the personal information of around 21.5 million federal employees, including retirees.
The eventual penalty of having sensitive data stolen is high and some victims (identity theft and fraud victims, for instance) are left suffering for years through no fault of their own. - Numaan Huq, Senior Threat Researcher