Summer’s in full swing, and so are data breaches and security threats. As is the norm these days, cyber attacks are affecting companies of every size, in nearly every industry. The fallout can involve disrupted operations, exposed customer data and much more.
Here are the recent data breaches that were making headlines in July 2016:
Sometimes it seems a month can’t go by without another healthcare-related data breach. The most notable one for July is a little quirky, though. Two employees at healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente allegedly stole an unspecified number of ultrasound machines. Because the equipment stores protected health information, including medical record numbers and names, about 1,100 patients were affected.
The provider recovered the equipment and reported that there’s no sign yet that health information has been used for fraud or criminal activity. As we’ve seen with other breaches, though, it can sometimes take months before the full extent of data exposure is recognized.
North Carolina State University
Another popular target for hackers are university and college systems, which can store ample information to be used for identity theft. The victim of the most recent data breach is North Carolina State University, which reported the exposure of about 38,000 records.
Although the university didn’t provide specifics on how the breach occurred, it did note that the theft began with a “sophisticated phishing scam.” This type of scam is becoming more difficult to detect, as hackers have even figured out how to pose as company CEOs, law enforcement personnel and IRS representatives.
This Texas-based restaurant chain noted that a data breach seems to have started in March, but wasn’t discovered until recently. The breach affected point-of-sale systems and cash register software, potentially exposing customer information for months.
Although this breach may seem minor and hit only a small customer base, it serves as a good reminder that your information can be at risk anywhere — even when you’re just picking up a pizza. Retailers and restaurants are prime targets for thieves, because point-of-sale systems may not be updated with the latest security patches. For example, Wendy’s revealed in May that malware was found on its system. Customer credit and debit card data may have been compromised for at least six months before discovery.
Point-of-sale system security issues are also a concern in the hospitality industry, as a recent data breach at Omni Hotels demonstrates. The hotel chain reported that hackers stole payment-card information from 49 of its 60 properties.
Malware covertly installed on the system captured more than 50,000 card numbers, which were then sold on criminal online forums. Fraudulent purchases with those numbers began in February, but Omni didn’t discover the hack until late June. This situation, like many other data breaches, highlights the need to check your transactions often, if not daily. Breaches can sometimes go on for months before they’re detected and reported.
Check back next month to stay up to date on the most recent data breaches.