Hacking is happening to large companies, and their lack of security spells big trouble for you – the user. One would think big corporations, with their zillions of dollars in profits, would give a crap about the security of their customers. Well, either they haven’t been paying attention to their IT professionals requesting upgrades to their computer security, or they are just ignorant.
Since it’s important to protect yourself against big corporations that are more concerned about executive bonus pay than they are for your security, here’s a brief primer.
A database is like a file cabinet, a very large collection of file cabinets containing millions of records. Hackers are the people skulking around in the dark trying to open those file cabinets. Hackers are looking for credentials, meaning your name, home address, phone numbers, emails, and the user names and passwords you have used to login to the companies you frequent. If you reuse passwords, you’ve just exposed your credit card, bank and personal information.
Big companies are being attacked more frequently than ever before. “Between January and September 2019, there were over 7.9 billion data records exposed – a 33 percent increase from the same time in 2018. Although hackers are obvious culprits in uncovering this data, oftentimes they had a helping hand from human error resulting in a data breach,” according to Steve Turner, chief information security officer (CISO) at Sontiq, the parent company of the EZShield and IdentityForce brands.
It looks like 2020 will also be a record breaker for hacking. If you have ever logged on to a site that’s been affected, you were hacked too. Understand that you are at risk of losing control of your life.
Here is a short list of data breaches so far this year
Peekaboo Moments, an app where parents post images and videos of their children.
A customer support database holding more than 280 million Microsoft customer records.
85,000 medical marijuana patients and recreational users.
Estee Lauder exposed 440 million customer records.
More than 10.6 million guests who have stayed at MGM Resorts.
Walgreens announced an error within its mobile app’s messaging feature that exposed not only personal messages sent within the app but also the names, prescription numbers and drug names, store numbers and shipping addresses of its users.
Hackers successfully accessed online accounts of customers of the apparel retailer J. Crew.
The credentials of more than 500,000 Zoom teleconferencing accounts were found for sale on the dark web. Email addresses, passwords, personal meeting URLs and host keys are said to be collected through a credential stuffing attack.
You can visit identityforce.com/blog/2020-data-breaches for a longer list.
There is a way to protect yourself from lax security at big companies, and it’s called password management. We know passwords can be difficult to remember, especially if you constantly change them – as you should – or if you have a large number of accounts that use passwords.
Password managers built into browsers are useless once you’re hacked. Your preference should be a third-party password manager that you are the only one on the planet to be able to access.
Call your local computer expert and ask what they use. You can solve your problem for about three bucks a month, even if the giant corporations fail you.
Now go do the smart thing.
William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to email@example.com.