According to Identity Force, so far in 2017, there have been thirty-five data breaches. These breaches have been spread across all manner of the industry from Verizon to Equifax and even Arby’s. Hand in hand with these data breaches is the glaring fact that Identity theft is at an all-time high; in 2016 alone, a reported 15.4 million Americans identities were stolen. It seems hackers have found a most lucrative trade via the internet and we will be hard-pressed to slow them down, let alone stop them.
Equifax, was, one of the most reputable and recognizable names in global information solutions, until recently, when it was discovered that 143 million Americans’ personal data has been compromised. It is estimated that Equifax was not hacked just once this year, but actually twice. The first occurrence was recognized in March, but not made public. The other, more recent compromise, was slated to have been going on between Mid-May and the end of July when it was discovered. So, 143 million people’s names/dates of birth/socials/credit card numbers/account numbers have been exposed. This breach is being called one of the worst in history because of not only the size but the sheer information that was stolen.
Another data breach that is making headlines is none other than Yahoo! Inc. Yahoo first reported that only one billion (emphasis on only) of its email accounts had been compromised. But it has been discovered this year, after Verizon purchased Yahoo, that ALL three billion of its email accounts had been involved in the data breach. Names, numbers, emails, encrypted/unencrypted security questions and answers, dates of birth and hashed passwords were all compromised.
The US Government was hacked, specifically the Office of Personnel Management less than two years ago. Anyone that had ever received a security clearance (including CIA officials and Navy Seals) were left vulnerable; their real names exposed, their addresses, their families, and anyone else who knew them. The end result? The Director got fired. That’s it. For exposing all of those people’s lives? It is nearly impossible to stay fully protected when everything we do from buying groceries to paying bills to register our kids for school is done online or through an online processing company.
For now, it appears that data breaches are the new normal and that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.