Having so much available to us online makes things a lot easier for consumers, and far more convenient than ever before for businesses. You can literally sit in your underwear with your own coffee, and talk to your cat while you do your black Friday shopping on your home computer. June Cleaver is losing her mind right now. Not only is shopping simpler, we can also pay bills, network, keep in touch with those people we kinda knew from that one time we played Frisbee golf on the quad during college, keep up on the latest in business technology, and breach the security of corporations large and small.
Wait, WHAT?! Yes, you read correctly. While we’ve been livin’ it up in the year 2015 for the last six months, 348 entities have already been hit by cybercriminals. That may not sound terribly overwhelming until I tell you it’s entities like the I.R.S, and the Beacon Health system that have somehow been breached. Entities that you would have otherwise thought are impenetrable. That’s some bad breach.
Everyone is a Target
According to the June 9th Data Breach Report, published by IDtheftcenter.org, of the hundreds of breaches this year, 30 struck the financial industry, 29 struck educational institutions, 25 struck government agencies, 126 struck the healthcare industry and a whopping 138 struck small to medium size businesses, like yours…but those aren’t the ones you hear about in the news. Check them out here.
On a scale of epic proportions, a data breach is pretty epically epic. Defined as, ” …a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.”
Some larger organizations which have had to deal with a data breach already this year:
Bank of America, for example fell victim to a breach early this year by a third party Merchant. Bank of America has not released exactly how many customers were affected by this breach, but select BoA customers received an explanatory letter, and a new bank card.
Aetna Health Insurance is also in a breach position (ha!). Just a few weeks ago, Aetna disclosed the breach, and temporarily shut down their website to get a handle on the situation. 450,000 employees and hopeful prospects had email addresses and other personal information copied. 65,000 Social Security numbers were also listed on the site. Letters were sent to those customers whose information had been compromised. Aetna has yet to reveal how the breach occurred.
One of the scariest breaches thus far, however, is the IRS. The cool part is we all have to continue sending them all of our information! (Of course I’m speaking ironically). The IRS’ system was hacked through an application called Get Transcript which allows taxpayers to keep an eye on their account transactions, tax return information and reported income to the IRS. The agency has temporarily shut down the application.
What to Do
Clearly this is quite the problem. Not only are the business moguls and government agencies getting hit, small businesses are as well. A breach like the ones mentioned above can annihilate a small to midsize business, if not by the cost of litigation, but the bad reputation and loss in customers. Bad news travels quickly. So what can you do? You can start by downloading our eBook below to learn more about how you can protect your business.
Megan Flanagan has been in the customer service business for over ten years hand in hand with several companies, large and local. She is a native of Syracuse New York where she lives with her fiancé, step daughter, and new addition, baby Eloise. New to the business blogging world, she has always had a passion for writing, communications, and the art of entertainment.
Top photo courtesy of Bryan Mills @ Flickr CC.