The more our society relies on computers and the internet, the more our information is at risk. As of late, there have been multiple reports of issues with cybersecurity–just look at Yahoo, the pioneer of internet search engines, for example.

Reuters stated that Yahoo admitted to all 3 billion of its accounts being hacked in the 2013 data theft. This is 2 billion more than what Yahoo had originally estimated at the beginning of the investigation. Apparently, the stolen data did not include passwords, payment card data, or bank account information. However, security questions (and answers) and backup email addresses were collected. This could evidently make it easier to break into other accounts held by the users. All of this occurred due to information being protected by “outdated, easy-to-crack encryption,” according to academic experts.

Another recent data breach occurred with the credit reporting company Equifax, reported NY Times. Sensitive personal information of almost 146 million Americans was compromised, and all because of a single employee, Richard F. Smith. He apparently “referred to an ‘individual’ in Equifax’s technology department who had failed to heed security warnings and did not ensure the implementation of software fixes that would have prevented the breach.” Smith described it as “human error and technology failures” which resulted in the stolen personal information of half of America’s population.

Big businesses are not the only targets for cybersecurity threats, either. Even small businesses and medical facilities are at risk.

“Almost all small businesses do not take adequate measure to beef up the security to eliminate the chances of security breaches,” Security Magazine proclaimed.

“More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses,” Security Magazine later continued. “It is estimated that 60 percent of hacked SMBs go out of business only after six months.”

Data breaches can cost small businesses anywhere from $36,000 to $50,000 to recover from data breaches. For any family-owned business or start-up company, this is absolutely devastating news. Most of the time, these businesses do not realize there is any threat to worry about. According to Security Magazine, 41 percent of small businesses are unaware of the risk, and 22 percent are willing to improve the security measures. Unfortunately, awareness of cybersecurity seems to be the main issue, with many considering their traditional security measures are efficient. Everyone, business or no, should use any measure they can to protect themselves from this happening.

There have been multiple reports about medical facilities being breached as well. Healthcare IT News revealed that Arkansas Oral Facial Surgery Center suffered a cyberattack that shut the center out of files, medical images and details of almost 130,000 patient visits. Though the attack was quickly detected, “the virus encrypted x-ray images, files and documents of patients who visited the provider within three weeks prior to the incident.”

Another incident recently mentioned was of three hacking groups targeting MongoDB databases (again). The hackers hijacked 26,000 open servers and asked for a ransom to release the data, according to security researcher Victor Gevers, chairman of the GDI Foundation.

Thankfully, there are some solutions for cybersecurity breaches that everyone can look into.

BBC suggests: “Protect your data, not just the perimeter; know your data; wake up to the insider threat; increase vigilance; get to grips with mobile; spend more money and time on cybersecurity.” The first and last suggestions, in particular, are perhaps the most important, especially for businesses.

Forbes also adds: “Back it up; use a safe web browser; use a password manager; user two-factor authentication for everything; get notified when there is a breach.” These tips appear more practical for the average computer user and could be quite useful if taken into consideration.

With all of the risk factors in cybersecurity, it is best to be prepared and alert in order to protect yours (and other’s) sensitive information.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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