security breach

How to tackle Information Security Breach Incidents?

We hear about Data Breach all the time, credit card scanner hacked, the company getting its data breached, but do you really know what a data breach is and what it means? Here’s a quick brief of data breaches. 

What actually is a Data Breach?

A data breach occurs when there is an unauthorized entry point into an organization’s databases that allows cyber hackers to access their customer data such as credit card numbers, passwords, banking information, medical records, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and other sensitive information.

What is a data security breach?

The purpose of hacking is to use this information for ID theft and fraud purposes. This can be done either by physically accessing a computer or network or by bypassing network security remotely.

The average data security breach takes less time to pull off than it does to make a cup of coffee.

In fact, most successful data breaches occur in less than one minute. The year 2019 alone, has seen over 3,800 breaches — a 50% or greater increase over the last four years, according to a report published by Risk Based Security recently.

Major Data Breaches in the year 2019

Below are some major data breaches that hit in the year 2019.

1. Zynga

When? September 2019

User impacted 218 Million

In September 2019, one of the most successful mobile game company with hits like Zynga Poker, FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Café World, Zynga, acknowledged that they have been the victim of the data breach.

A Pakistani hacker hacked the popular mobile social game company Zynga Inc. Going by the online alias Gnosticplayers, the serial hacker managed to breach “Words With Friends,” a popular Zynga-developed word puzzle game and has access to a massive database of more than 218 million users.

The unauthorized data access includes the players’ names, email addresses, login IDs, hashed passwords, SHA1 with salt, password reset tokens (if ever requested), phone numbers (if provided), Facebook IDs (If connected) and Zynga account IDs.

Zynga games hacked

Hacker also claimed that he hacked the data of some other Zynga-developed games like the discontinued OMGPOP game and Draw something that exposed the clear text password of over 7 million users.

2. Russians Tax records exposed online

When? September 17, 2019

Users Impacted? 20 Million

Security researcher Bob Diachenko and Comparitech discovered a database on September 17, 2019, with over 20 million Russian tax records left open on an unsecured web server. It was identified that since May 2018, the database was exposed and that it did not require a password to access.

The exposed clusters consisted of multiple databases, of which 2 of the exposed databases contained the personally identifiable information (PII) and the tax records of millions of Russian citizens.

One of the databases contained 6 million records from between 2009 to 2015, while the other database contained 14 million tax records between 2010 and 2016. PII exposed included; full names, addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers, residency status, tax ID, tax amounts, names, and phone numbers.

The mysterious Ukranian owner was contacted and on September 20, 2019, it was secured. The exposed data can be used to perform tax scams, phishing, and other frauds.

3. OYO Security Breach

When? September 2019

Users impacted: Oyo Customers

Hospitality chain OYO is under fire when a security researcher managed to hack into the company’s database and access the data of people staying at a particular hotel.

He found this loophole when he accessed the Wi-Fi at the OYO and to give the privilege to access Wi-Fi, it asked for his booking ID and phone number.

Jay Sharma, share a post on LinkedIn about the same, acclaim that a hacker could access booking IDs, phone numbers of people living in a particular room, the location and date of booking. He also added that all historical data dated back to a few months was accessible.

4. Comodo

When? September 29, 2019

Users Affected? Over 170,000

Cybersecurity company Comodo becomes one of the major victims of a recently disclosed vBulletin 0-day vulnerability. This vulnerability exposed login account information of over 170,000 users registered with the Comodo Forums websites.

The Forum was hacked on September 29; 4 days after vBulletin developers released a patch to let the administrators address the vulnerability.

The company failed to fix the patches that result in unauthorized access to data include login username, name, email address, hashed passwords, last IP address used to access the forums. Also some social media usernames of a limited number of users.

5. DoorDash

When? May 4, 2019

Users Affected? 4.9 Million Users

DoorDash suffered a data breach affecting 4.9 million merchants and delivery people. They noticed the unusual activity from a third-party service provider earlier in September.

After investigating, it found an unauthorized third party was able to access DoorDash user data on May 4, 2019. The company took immediate steps to block further access and improve security. The people who joined DoorDash on or before April 5, 2018, are affected — people who joined after that date weren’t affected.

The breach involved data such as names, email addresses, order history, phone numbers, delivery addresses, and encrypted versions of passwords. In some cases, the last four digits of payment cards and bank account numbers were accessed.

Though the Full payment card and bank account information weren’t compromised. Also, the driver’s license numbers of over 100,000 delivery people were accessed.

6. Suspected student data leak in Bengaluru

When? October 2019

Many parents in Bengaluru worried about the information leak of their children in the government’s Student Achievement Tracking System (SATS). These claims come in the wake when several people received targeted messages on their phone asking them to apply for scholarships for their children.

The nature of the messages reveals that the sender has knowledge of the children’s academic performance and personal details.

In the wake of these allegations, the Department of Public Instruction reviewed the security features of the portal. Commissioner for Public Instruction, K.G. Jagadeesha said that he had a meeting with officials and representatives of the agency that is involved in the project.

The agency assured that the data is safe and nobody has access to it. The leak may have been at the school level, as many schools don’t have their own websites. He asked the parents to lodge a written mistake to forward the matter to the cybercrime department.

7. 500 US schools hit by ransomware

A report published by the cybersecurity firm Armor confirms that ransomware infections have hit over 500 US schools in 2019 to date. Armor also warns that the rate of attack seems to be picking up with 15 new ransomware victims in the last two weeks.

Since January 2019, Armor has identified 49 educational institutions, school districts that have publicly announced ransomware attacks. The attacks potentially affected 500 K-12 schools. Since January, it identified 182 ransomware victims in the U.S., including municipalities, schools, law enforcement agencies, and healthcare networks. Out of the 182 victim organizations in the U.S., educational institutions (49) make up the 2nd largest pool of victims, after municipalities (70).

See, the last month itself witnesses large data breaches of the year. What about the rest of the other months and future years?

Also an article in varonis.com by Rob Sobers, damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

How to counter it?

You know, most of the hacks don’t happen because cybercriminals leverage the most advanced hacking mechanisms to breach a site. They occur from site vulnerabilities and our little mistakes. So, how can we protect, here are some ways with which we can stop data breaches? What can you do?

1. Google Password Checkup tool for Google Chrome and Android users

This will check the user’s saved passwords if the passwords have been leaked and compromised in breaches at other services. You can either avail it at https://passwords.google.com/?pli=1 with the Chrome Extension and then saved passwords in chrome, in this website saved passwords are synced.

Here is how to secure passwords in Chrome using Google Password Checkup

The checkup password feature takes all the account details saved on a device and verifies them against the same Google internal DB that has been leaked via breaches. If the combo is found, Google will warn the user to change the password.

On the Android, the Password Checkup on their device does the same.

2. For iPhone Users?

Some changes in settings and tweaks that you should make to tighten the security and lockdown of your Apple Devices. Check this video for more.

Here are few takeaways

1. Set strong passwords. Most Important

2. Block Unknown callers. Use something like Truecaller

3. Block apps that access Bluetooth un-necessarily.

4. Use password autofill and 3rd party password manager for your iPhone

5. Turn off automatic iOS Updates.

6. Control Location sharing

7. Limit Ad Tracking.

8. Control access to whatever is accessible when the iPhone is locked

9. Enable Two- Factor authentication whenever possible

10. Disable Biometrics to force passcode entry

3. Twitter

Twitter is the main social media source of information. Almost everybody on this earth has an account on Twitter and access it aggressive to be up-to-date with friends, family, actor, actress, brand, news channel, and top latest tweet.

As this platform is overfilled with users so are the chances of hackers. So, protect your twitter account using the 2-factor identification settings in the setting and privacy tab.

Also, you can protect your tweets. To get more details on Twitter security and privacy setting read our article Twitter Privacy Settings – All you need to know 

4. Facebook

I believe there is hardly a person in this universe who doesn’t know about Facebook. Everybody is a fan of Facebook and news feed shared by the users of Facebook on technology, market trends, fashion, latest updates of personal life or world.

The website is accessed several times a day to see notification and updates. Activate 2-factor authentication and also check the apps that are accessing your Facebook data by clicking on settings then “Apps and Websites” and then select out of 3 options “Active, Expired and Removed apps Lists”.

On clicking the app you will come to know about the information shared with the app. For more detailed information on Facebook setting and privacy, read Facebook Privacy Settings you need to know 

5. Emails

Pay attention to the websites asking for your e-mail to send notifications and advertisements. Read the term and conditions properly before clicking on the checkbox “I Agree”. Don’t click on spam messages or e-mails.

Last but not least, when you can keep your perimeter security and other protective measures in place, the chances of data breaches come to negative. Be active and pay attention to the permissions requested by websites and apps.

Let me know what you think about the current scenario where number of consumer data breaches is on the rise?

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