Cybersecurity Insight

The Biggest Data Breaches You Missed in 2015

11 Dec

We talk about it all the time, too much for our liking, but data breaches are occurring at an alarming rate. This year is one of the worst on record for data breaches, and there were so many that you probably didn’t hear about all of them. It doesn’t mean they were kept quiet or didn’t make headlines – it just means that they were probably drowned out by the data breaches you did hear about.

It is estimated that over 1 Billion personal records were accessed illegally in 2015, that’s a more than 50% increase from 2014. Whether it was financial, personal, or health records, a substantial number of Americans were victims of cyber crime.

Perhaps we can be happy that 2015 is nearly over so we can turn a new leaf. However, we’re sure to hear about more data breaches as the holiday gift giving season fast approaches. With that said, here are a few data breaches that occurred in 2015 that you probably missed.

VTech Data Breach

You may have been getting over your Turkey hangover when this one went down. Toymaker VTech suffered a data breach in late November that compromised the names of over 200,000 individuals. That’s not even the biggest issue here. The names that were accessed were that of children. Yes, 200,000 children were the victims of a data breach. This was a truly unsettling occurrence.

U.S. Prisons & Securus

This data breach may be the most ironic of 2015 given the people involved. An anonymous hacker stole nearly 70 Million phone call recordings from inmates in United States prisons. While most wouldn’t bat an eye, the interesting point brought up pertained mostly to attorney-client privilege and how it could have been breached in this scenario. Not to mention that prisoners, despite their crime, have certain rights to privacy like everyone else.

The cherry on top in this data breach was the name of the company who provides (and makes massive profits from) phone systems in the prisons. That company’s name is Securus. Yep, ‘secure’ ‘us’. Hard not to laugh a bit at that one even if data breaches aren’t considered a laughing matter.

Donald Trump/Trump Hotels

Yep, even The Donald couldn’t ward off cyber attackers in 2015. The data breach affected seven of Donald Trump’s hotels where hackers installed malware that stole security codes and credit card information from guests. Trump’s hotels never reported how many people were affected by the breach but it was estimated that several thousand people fell victim to this attack.

To whoever was providing cyber security for these hotels: ‘You’re fired!’

Scottrade Data Breach

Scottrade has been the victim of data breaches and cyber attacks for a couple years. The brokerage firm found illegal activity on its network some two years ago; but not until this year were they able to determine the cause. In the breach, the contact information of millions of customers was stolen. It was thought that this information was going to be used for stock scams.

Just recently it was released that four men were charged in the crime along with other cyber crimes that included the hacking of JPMorgan Chase and a number of other financial institutions.

A Busy Year for Data Breaches

2015 was an extremely busy year in the cyber security arena. We saw data breaches in almost every major category of global business and government from finance to retail and from the CIA to the IRS. If 2015 has taught us anything it’s that cyber crime is only getting started. We haven’t yet begun to see the ramifications of these data breaches and unless we take action now to better secure our data we’re likely to see attacks get worse – causing more harm to everyday Americans who use online services or make purchases with their credit cards. We have made some strides, but it’s going to take a lot more than a few pieces of legislation or a verbal commitment to better security. It’s going to take diligence,  hard work, awareness, and education. And of course a trusted security provider that knows what they’re doing.