It’s surprising how far we’ve come in terms of technological and digital advancements in the past couple of years. However, our databases and systems are still vulnerable to hackers’ attacks, malware, and more despite the huge steps forward we’ve made. 2019 is no different, as there have been countless data breaches already.
Just how much data has been compromised this year?
A recent report by Risk-Based Security called 2019 Mid-Year QuickView Data Breach Report notes that 4.1 billion records have been compromised during the first six months of 2019. These came from more than 3,800 publicly disclosed records. What’s more surprising is that, of those 4.1 billion breaches, 3.2 billion came from just eight major breaches.
One of the most recent breaches comes from biometrics giant Suprema. According to a recent report, this data breach reportedly leaked millions of biometric data such as facial recognition records, fingerprints, log data, and personal information. There are no exact numbers regarding just how much damage was dealt to Suprema.
In case you were wondering:
Suprema touts itself as “a global powerhouse in biometrics, security, and identity solutions.” Its products include biometric control systems, time logging solutions, fingerprint live scanners, and more. Its solutions are primarily used by the Metropolitan Police, banks, defense contractors, and more. In total, Suprema’s solutions are used by over 5,700 organizations in 83 countries worldwide.
It’s also worth noting that the data compromised from this breach is not yet part of the report by Risk-Based Security. This basically means that the numbers for the next report on data breaches are already ramping up.
Data breaches have two major implications:
First, stolen data could be used to manipulate the systems of Suprema solution users. For instance, hackers could use the log-in details to get into the systems of banks and law enforcement agencies.
Second, millions worldwide have had sensitive data stolen. This time, it’s not just their passwords or emails that have been compromised – their identity details have been leaked as well. This, in turn, raises more privacy and security concerns for Suprema.
Companies are responsible for protecting the data that their consumers openly share with them. Of course, as private individuals, we are responsible for protecting our data as well. There are simple steps we can take to ensure that our data is protected behind strong security measures.
• Use strong passwords – Always use strong passwords for all of your online accounts. We suggest using a mix of lower and uppercase characters, numbers, symbols, and spaces. This will make it harder for hackers to decipher your password.
• Change passwords regularly – Aside from making your password complicated, we also recommend changing it every month or so. Doing so will prevent hackers from cracking your code if they are coming close to achieving it.
• Log out of outside devices – If you are logging into your account from a device you don’t own, it’s advisable to log out once you are done. Other people could easily access your account if you leave it out in the open.
• Use a VPN when connecting to public networks – VPN or virtual private networks allow you to browse the internet free from the worries of hackers. Software like this typically cost $10-$20 a month. It will be well worth it, especially if you connect to public Wi-Fi regularly
• Keep apps and OS updated – Never skip out on update notifications on devices. A lot of developers add fixes to system vulnerabilities through updates; this is especially the case for operating systems.
• Inspect emails/forms carefully – Hackers disguise their breach attempts as elaborately constructed emails and forms. With that in mind, it is important to thoroughly inspect the things we see online. Look for tiny errors such as grammar lapses, as these could mean the item is not genuine.
This is the key takeaway:
Data breaches are still a threat. One of the reasons why this trend continues is that the value of data continues to increase. It’s likely that there will be more data breaches for the rest of 2019 and onwards. It would be wise to keep our defenses up and become more vigilant, as the losses we can suffer from data breaches could be heavier than we can handle.