CyberSecurity Scandals of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, it's time to reflect upon some of the largest cybersecurity scandals. Cybersecurity scandals are becoming bigger and wider spread — and that's only the scandals that are actually reported. Businesses and consumers should both be aware of these cybersecurity scandals and be mindful of their own security. 

Apple FaceTime (January 2019)

There were a number of breaches in January, but Apple FaceTime is the one that got the most press. By not answering a phone call, someone could actually eavesdrop on a conversation. While quickly patched, this was a huge security issue, and one that surprisingly hadn't been caught by Apple's own test team. More importantly, it shows how new IoT related threats are emerging: It goes beyond just data.

FEMA (March 2019)

In March 2019, it was released that FEMA had exposed the records of 2.3 million disaster recipient victims. Government organizations are not exempt from attacks, which puts people at quite a disadvantage: they need to work with government agencies, but these government agencies themselves could be responsible for a data leak.

Facebook (April 2019)

Facebook is breaking records with its attacks. In April, it was discovered that some 540 million records had been compromised. These records had been acquired through third-party access. Facebook released apps that would let people see whether their own accounts had been compromised, and the high-profile case was in the news for some weeks.

Canva (May 2019)

The Australian company Canva found itself being hacked, with 139 million users being exposed. Names, email addresses and more were all released onto the dark web and can never be unreleased again.

Burger King (May 2019)

In the same month, 40,000 records were revealed by Burger King through a database that was exposed, which included information for children. Children can still be the victims of identity theft, and they may not find out until quite a while after they become an adult. Parents should make sure their children's credit reports are locked and check them periodically, while educating them about what a credit report is and what it means.

Equifax (July 2019)

In a somewhat embarrassing turn of events, Equifax itself had to report a hack. Equifax reported a theft of 146 million records and was required to settle with consumers for this breach. Customers were offered $125 each for their troubles, but later Equifax asked the customers to take free credit monitoring instead, as it was running out of settlement money.

Door Dash (September 2019)

A total of five million customers of Door Dash had their information exposed through the delivery app, and around 100,000 driver's licenses from their drivers were stolen as well. Personally identifiable information was released in this hack, which could easily lead to identity theft. Customers are using an exceptional number of apps these days, and every time users install a new app, they're entrusting their private and confidential information to it.

Facebook — Again (October 2019)

Facebook couldn't keep itself out of the news and had to report another privacy breach in October. This privacy breach involved 100 developers being given access to information that they weren't supposed to have. Facebook has been plagued with issues with third-party access: It makes money by connecting people to information, and it can potentially connect the wrong people to the wrong information.

Mixcloud (December 2019)

About 21 million Mixcloud members are now seeing their information being sold on the dark net, and that's something important to consider. When information is stolen (and information is valuable), it's now sold through the dark net, and it can never be erased from there. Since data is now extremely valuable and can be sold easily, these attacks are increasing.

The Year in Retrospective

As you can see, 2019 brought with it some extremely high-profile targets. The average person can hardly refrain from giving their information to some of the largest companies in the world, or to government agencies. And that means most people are going to find their information compromised at one point or another.

People can protect themselves from identity theft by securing their accounts, being careful when browsing online, and freezing their credit reports. Credit monitoring is now critical, and it can be acquired for free through many credit card companies.

You can reduce your risk by ensuring that you protect your own accounts: use individual passwords, change your passwords frequently, and pay attention to any suspicious alerts. And you should invest in a secure, stable and reliable Internet service. Contact PS LIGHTWAVE to find out more about high-speed internet service.

PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.

Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.