Published On: Fri, Mar 22nd, 2019

What Can We Learn From The Biggest Data Breaches in 2018?

By Contributing Author

If you think that there were no major security and data breaches in 2018 apart from Facebook, guess again!

2018 was not different. The year witnessed a range of malicious hacks and data breaches. More than 4.5 billion records were compromised in the first half of 2018 itself. What’s more, the cyber thieves didn’t leave any industry behind. From food service companies to hotels and government entities – a lot many were attacked.

Let’s have a closer look at some of the biggest data breaches in 2018.

  • Panera Bread

In the changing times, the way we eat has also changed. People are no more going out, but today online food delivery is the new craze. This has made online transactions mainstream, and perhaps, it has also provided tons of opportunities for hackers to take advantage of this situation.

Recently, cybercriminals attacked Panera Bread. Hackers exposed personal details such as emails, birthdays, names, physical addresses and last four digits of credit card numbers. It is expected that data of more than 37 million consumers were exposed.

Lesson learned: Ensure that you use a VPN while browsing the internet. A VPN works by establishing a private network virtually such that even your Internet Service Provider will not be able to have a look at your internet activities or steal personal details.

A VPN directs your traffic through a secure tunnel and encrypts your web traffic through the latest protocols. You can learn more about how it works in a NordVPN review.

  • My Fitness Pal

MyFitnessPal witnessed one of the significant data attacks in 2018. Undoubtedly, this health-tracking app is loved by many and this might be one of the reasons why it was on the target of data hackers.

As many as 150 million usernames and their linked information like passwords and emails were leaked in Feb 2018. Although more sensitive information like driver’s license number and credit card details were kept safe, hackers were still able to get access to the email address and passwords which are valuable enough for cyber thieves.

Lesson learned: Do not use the same password for different accounts. In this case, for instance, hackers were able to extract 150 million usernames and passwords. If the same password is used for valuable accounts like corporate work emails and banking accounts, you could prove to be an easy target.

  • Facebook

One of the biggest data scandals that shocked Facebook in 2018 doesn’t need any words. Data of 30 million users was used by a political data firm Cambridge Analytica to learn more about the personalities of the users.

Soon it was revealed that it was not just Cambridge Analytica which scraped the details of the users, but another app called Nametests.com also exposed data of more than 120 million users.

Lesson learned: Even secure-looking social media platforms are prone to data attacks and scandals. Thus, it is necessary to keep reviewing your privacy settings from time to time.

  • Marriott

The travel and hospitality industry is hit by cyber-crimes too. Marriott in 2018 confirmed that information of up to 500 million hotel guests has been stolen. Although the scandal came to the limelight on September 10th, it actually took place in 2014.

The worst part of this data breach was that a large amount of information was stolen. They did not just grab general information like names, credit card details and the like, but they were also able to extract specific details like travel locations, passport numbers and so on.

Lesson learned: Even your age-old data could be intruded, and hacked. This is why it is essential to keep your online identity secure, no matter what.

  • British Airways

Data of more than 380,000 travelers who purchased flight tickets from British Airways mobile app and website was robbed in August 2018, including their complete credit card details.

The company, however, was quick in admitting the lapse and asked its customers to reach out to their respective banks immediately.

Lesson learned: Here is yet another reason why using a VPN while making a financial transaction is a must today. A VPN not only protects your device from any malware attacks but it also protects your online identity and prevents you from identity theft.

So, What Can We Learn?

Although data breaches can happen, cyber experts believe that having the right protection can definitely keep the things under control. This is why it is highly recommended to use point to point encryption services, and latest technology to prevent yourself falling prey to any of these attacks.

While users lose their information, companies and organization lose their reputation. Although data can be recovered with the help of disaster recovery strategies, it is tough to recover and regain users’ trust after such incidents.

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