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Data Breaches & Information Leaks – How Safe Are You?

Data Breaches & Information Leaks – How Safe Are You?

How safe are you as a South African from data breaches and information leaks?

We live in a world where information has become somewhat of a form of currency, one where every bit of data has its own value in a sea of unique data points that give the wielder power, security, wealth and understanding. But because of the diverse nature of the World Wide Web and corporate structures, it can often be nearly impossible to protect such information in such a way that it can continue to retain its value. The risk posed to some companies when it comes to their data is so great, that a single leak can cost an industry millions of Rands.


Biggest South African Data Breaches of 2018

Data security is a major consideration for every business, small to large, so when security is threatened in a major way it forces us to consider the efficacy of own security measures.

While cybersecurity is a global issue, South Africa has seen its fair share of data breaches and information leaks in 2018. Moving forward into 2019 it’s important to look back on these incidents and decide to revise corporate security strategies.

South African data breaches in 2018:

Facebook scandal

While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to face angry lawmakers in the US and European Union, it was reported that the data breach involving the UK political consultancy affected almost 60 000 South African users.

Master Deed’s data breach “biggest” digital security threat in SA

Hunt was once again instrumental in revealing what was known as the “biggest” data breach in South African history, together with iAfrikan CEO Tefo Mohapi in October 2017.

Over 60 million South Africans’ personal data, from ID numbers to company directorships, was believed to have been affected.

Liberty email hack

In SMSs to clients on Saturday, financial services company Liberty informed them that its email repository had been breached by a third party trying to demand a “ransom” in exchange for the data.

ViewFines licence details

In May the Hawks, the State Security Agency and the Information Regulator said they would probe the breach of personal records of 943 000 South African drivers, allegedly from online traffic fine website ViewFines.

Source: Fin24.com

Click here to read the full Fin24.com article on each of these attacks.


Infamous International Information Leaks

In our fast-paced world, it is becoming ever more difficult to keep up with security efforts which are necessary to protect what would otherwise be considered private information. The last few years have seen many infamous leaks which have caused us all to wonder about the state of the world. Whether you agree with them or not is irrelevant, they have happened, and in so happening they have changed the way we all think about global affairs. Here is a list of some of the most infamous information leaks to ever grace our planet; for better or worse.

The Ashley Madison Scandal
Ashley Madison, a discreet extra-marital affair dating site was hacked in 2015 by activist group Anonymous as a reaction to the group’s anger at the service that the website provided. As Anonymous does, they issued a warning and insisted Ashley Madison take down their site if they wanted to avoid an attack; the website refused. A week later the details of billions of the site’s users were released over the net to the public domain, including email addresses, message histories and financial transactions made to the site. Amongst the exposed users, big names of celebrities and politicians were spotted, throwing many careers and marriages into turmoil.

WikiLeaks, the dirty word
In 2006 the world has its credibility checked when Julian Assange began leaking top-secret government documents to the public. Each drop of information held scandal after scandal as the world realized how blatantly we had all been lied to. The implications of the leak are still being debated today, with supporters and enemies of the movement everywhere. Perhaps what the world feared most from this scandal was not the fact that we have all been lied to (we knew that already), it was probably the stark realization of how vulnerable all of our privacy is.

Sarah Palin’s emails
While the information pried from Sarah Palin’s emails in 2008 did not meet with much of a personal scandal for her, it was a bit of a slap in the face for everyone who felt like their emails were secure and private. Since it was her Yahoo account that was hacked, the email provider suffered considerably from the event. The hacker was found out to be a 22 year old in Tennessee, who faced around 20 months in jail for posting family pictures from Palin’s account.

Emails to her colleagues began to circle the web, and before long, Palin’s personal life was splayed for the world to poke at. Luckily there were no juicy bits found in the leaks, or unluckily, depending on whether you support her candidacy at the moment or not. Of course, we only ever hear about the big stories. The leaks that have affected political or industry giants, but that doesn’t mean that attacks don’t occur on a smaller, more personal basis.


What Can You Do?

It is always essential for a business to place adequate protection measures in place, to stop things like that from happening. But what sort of protections should your business have in place to ensure that its data is always secure?

Media management
For companies with essential and sensitive media requirements, properly archiving, managing, accessing and protecting such information can be a difficult task to stay on top of. The damages caused by lost or corrupted media can be devastating, just as devastating as data breaches or information leaks.

Losing essential documents or even worse, the entire server can put a company on its knees in no time, and so it should always be a priority to implement stringent media management strategies in a business; so much so that many companies prefer to keep such data backup and security efforts in the hands of an outside company with the infrastructure to offer constant protection.

Online storage
While cloud-based storage may sometimes bring about security and privacy concerns, leaving online storage in the hands of a trusted company is a great way to ensure that information is stored off-site and can be accessed by anyone with the authority to do so, from anywhere. This significantly reduces the risk of losing valuable information while making it convenient to access it. And as cloud-based computing develops, we are likely to see better and more secure outputs from this kind of service.

Digital imaging
Does your office still have piles of miscellaneous notes and documents floating around in some abyss of a filing cabinet? Well good. Keeping hard copies of your documents as a backup is always a good idea, but when this method is your chief way of handling documents, you might be setting yourself up for a fall. Keep digital copies of these documents by having them scanned and stored as digital images.

This will make them easier to manage, cheaper to store, and will ensure that they withstand the ravages of time which eventually destroy those ancient vanilla stained documents floating around your place of work. So if you are serious about keeping your businesses sensitive information safe and easy to manage, be sure to enlist in the services of a professional supplier of information management services.

To protect your information and reduce the risks associated with a data breach, contact Iron Mountain today to find out how you can better protect your business’s information and privacy.


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