While most of us take precautions to help prevent our data from being stolen or compromised, the troubling fact is that sometimes these preventative measures just aren’t enough.
If a company that you conduct business with is involved in a data breach, it can put you at a significantly higher risk for becoming a victim of identity theft.
Let’s look at some well-known and reputable companies who unfortunately, have seen their customers become victims of data breaches. It’s important to keep in mind that if it could happen to major companies that have extensive security protocols in place to help prevent these types of incidents, it can happen to just about anyone.
In July, 2013 Adobe warned customers of a data breach after a cyber attack resulted in 38 million customer records from the database being stolen, including encrypted customer credit card information, passwords, and data. Adobe also said that the hackers stole part of the source code for the popular photo editing software, Photoshop.
Most of us remember the data breach that Target experienced during the Thanksgiving/Christmas rush in 2013. The Target data breach affected 40 million cardholders. The stolen data allowed crooks to create numerous counterfeit credit and debit cards, by encoding the valuable—and stolen—data onto magnetic strips. In order to pull off this heist, security experts believe credentials were stolen from a heating and air conditioning vendor to gain access to Target’s network and install malware programs.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot announced in August 2014 that customer details had been compromised. The Home Depot’s systems are believed to have been compromised by a variant of the same strain of malware that hit Target’s system in 2013, and the full extent of this security compromise remains to be seen. It’s thought that malware was present between April and September, and impacted all 2,200 of Home Depot’s stores.
In August 2014, the familiar grocery store, Albertson’s, and umbrella stores including ACME Market, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, and Star Markets experienced a data breach. While there was no evidence that the stolen information was actually used in this case, there was proof that credit and debit card information was stolen when the store’s computer network, which processes all card payments–was hacked into, causing the data breach.
You don’t expect a case of security breach to come along with your ice cream cone, or order of fries, but that’s exactly what happened to customers of Dairy Queen. Between August and October 2014, Dairy Queen and Orange Julius customers had their information compromised due to a malware attack.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service, Dairy Queen joined the ranks of more than 1,000 other retailers that have been hit with the malware, “Backoff”—the same malware that is believed to have been responsible for the attack on Target, The Home Depot, and many others.
While these companies have taken some preventative measures to prevent data breaches, in some cases, preventative measures just aren’t enough. Any system can be compromised, no matter how secure it may be. As long as criminals have access to their computers, data breaches can and will continue to happen. It’s important to take measures to ensure ahead of time that you are protected in case of a security breach that could compromise your personal data.