computer screen showing a data breach

Top data breaches of 2018 and what we’ve learned

Just like that, 2018 has come and gone. It’s been 12 months of major political developments, thrilling sports championships, and the occasional massive data breach.

Yes, small businesses and some of the most famous brands on Earth fell prey to hackers. And much of their customer data was compromised in the process.

Before the new year rings in, let’s take a not-so-fond look back at some of these frightening events.

1. Quora

Quora is the website where members can pose questions on all kinds of topics, and other members can respond. In December, a malicious cyber-invader infiltrated its network and apparently gained access to the personal information of approximately 100 million people.

Naturally, the company apologized. Even so, this was one instance in which Quora didn’t provide any meaningful answers.

2. Marriott

In December 2018, Marriott International announced that it was the target of one of the largest data breaches of all time. Specifically, criminals targeted the reservation system of Starwood, a hotel company Marriott owns. The attack originated in 2014, and it kept on going until September 10, 2018.

The types of information that was stolen include full names, email addresses, phone numbers, and passport numbers. Perhaps worst of all, the culprits may be able to decrypt the credit card numbers of many Marriott guests.

3. Macy’s

“Way to shop!” is one of Macy’s most famous slogans. Unfortunately, between late April and early June 2018, hackers found a way to steal.

The thieves attacked Macys.com as well as Macy’s subsidiary, Bloomingdales.com. They then got into thousands of consumer accounts, allowing them to take credit card information. Macy’s notified the press about the attack in July, and the company contacted individuals it believed to be affected.

4.  Under Armour

Under Armour, a maker of athletic clothing and footwear, couldn’t outrun hackers in 2018. Its MyFitnessPal app, which debuted in 2005, was hit by digital crooks. As many as 150 million people may have had their usernames, passwords and email addresses swiped.

Under Armour first noticed this assault in March. And, when the company made this violation public, its stock went down 3.8 percent, although it rebounded shortly after.

5. Facebook

In the middle of September, hackers broke into 30 to 50 million Facebook accounts via access tokens. (Those tokens let people into their accounts without entering passwords.) Once inside, the criminals could look at users’ current residences, birthplaces, and relationship statuses, among other personal facts.

More worrisome, the hackers could pretend to be those Facebook users. That is, they could contact others and perhaps even make payments in the guise of those individuals.

No time to panic

Sure, these statistics are staggering and alarming. However, if you’re diligent and proactive about your company’s digital security, you can repel internet swindlers effectively.

One of the strategies you should employ is to segment sensitive and confidential information from the rest of your network. Constant system monitoring, periodic vulnerability evaluations, and frequent IT patches are crucial as well. And don’t forget to back up all of your data!

May 2019 bring you good health, lots of time with family and friends, and a digital infrastructure that’s protected at all times.