View from Peter Lancos, CEO
"Welcome to another edition of eXate's Global Data Diaries series, a fortnightly blog series that aims to bring you the latest news, tips and insights from the world of data privacy. Today we discuss data thefts, its consequences and some examples of major corporations currently in the news owing to data theft."
Data theft is the refers to the illegal practice of stealing digital information stored on electronic devices of an unknown person with the intention of obtaining confidential information. The data can include anything ranging from financial information to personal information, like social security numbers and health records. It is interesting to note that most data thefts happen due to data breaches, and almost all data breaches occur due to negligence. Most organisations let their guard down and are victimised when they are most vulnerable. Additionally, most victims are unaware of what happens with the stolen data, which makes it even more dangerous.
Some consequences of data thefts for organisations include:
Potential lawsuits from customers whose information has been exposed
Ransomware demands from attackers
Recovery costs – for example, restoring or patching systems that have been breached
Reputational damage and loss of customers
Fines or penalties from regulatory bodies (depending on the industry)
Downtime while data is recovered
Major consumer brands such as Apple and Coca Cola are suffering serious consequences of data theft and are frequenting news headlines in the recent days (read more in the links below). US healthcare provider ARCare admitted a data theft, affecting almost 345,000 individuals. ARcare said it is “unaware of any or actual or attempted misuse of the affected information as a result of this incident”.
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What is data theft and how to prevent it
Data theft is the act of stealing digital information stored on computers, servers, or electronic devices to obtain confidential information or compromise privacy. The data stolen can be anything from bank account information, online passwords, passport numbers, driver's license numbers, social security numbers, medical records, online subscriptions, and so on. Once an unauthorized person has access to personal or financial information, they can delete, alter, or prevent access to it without the owner’s permission.
Apple's PC and mobile chips suffer from world-first data theft exploit
A number of newer Apple devices are carrying a unique flaw, eerily reminiscent of Spectre/Meltdown, that could allow threat actors to steal sensitive data, experts have warned.
Ransomware Group’s Claim of Data Theft Being Investigated by Coca-Cola
A ransomware group called Stormrous is claiming that it stole 161 gigabytes of data from Coca-Cola, including login credentials and financial data. Coca-Cola has yet to confirm the data theft, but says that it has initiated an “urgent investigation.”