Although every year we lament about the significance of data breaches in the past year, 2016 was by far the worst. Data breaches were rampant, victimizing every industry and numbing consumers in the process. It was so bad that consumers began to throw up their hands and say “My personal information is out there anyway. How can I protect myself?…”
The data breach numbers continued to climb this year, with the biggest breaches ever recorded hitting one company—Yahoo—with over 1.5 billion records compromised in two incidents.
Data breaches in 2016 included health information, payment card information, social media account information and even the Democratic National Committee.
Massive amounts of data was compromised through an increase in phishing and spear phishing schemes, including W-2 information of employees. There were so many successful phishing schemes in the beginning of the year that the IRS, FBI, OCR, FTC and DOJ all issued alerts to companies to be aware of the schemes and to provide employees with tools to combat them. Nonetheless, the amount of data compromised rose at an alarming rate.
Not to be a doomsdayer, the monetization of data will not ebb in 2017. Hackers will invent new and more sophisticated schemes to obtain data and get paid for it. As long as hackers can make money from data, they will continue to victimize companies.
May 2017 be the year that companies take data security seriously and provide employees with relevant and meaningful training and education so they can become the soldiers protecting company data from attack.