Endpoint Management as Identity Theft Rises

Data breaches in the US have reached an all-time high according to researchers from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). The study found that an estimated total of 1,093 data breaches occurred in 2016, which is a 40% increase from 2015. Cyber criminals are conducting these data breaches in an effort to steal personal information about their victims and perpetrate identity theft scams.

The Business sector was the most targeted area with nearly 500 reported incidents. The researchers believe that these hundreds of breaches in the Business sector have exposed over 500 million records. Another heavily targeted sector is Healthcare, which experienced 377 security incidents. However, the data breaches in this sector have seen a steady decline over the past three years. This could be because companies in the Healthcare sector decided to invest in network security.

The leading cause of data breaches is hacking, skimming, and phishing, according to the study. These three issues combined have been the main cause of data breaches for the past eight years. In 2016, hacking, skimming, and phishing increased by 17% over the 2015 figures. This growing figure shows how important it is for companies to keep their networks and data security from outside threats. Cyber criminals are trying to steal company information by exploiting vulnerabilities in networks and employees. Below are three ways employees can guard their information from hackers:

  1. Secure Social Media Accounts: Employees should be wary of sharing too much of their private information online, like through social media sites. Identity thieves can use this information to get past secondary security questions on websites. For example, some websites ask users to verify their identities through a secondary security question like “Which high school did you attend?” A hacker could use their victim’s social media profile to gather this information and break into a corporate account.
  2. Make Personal Information Private: Innocuous information like online wish lists can leave people vulnerable to identity theft. The researchers at (ITRC) believe that many of these wish lists are shared to the public by default, so posting all of this information online can make it easier for identity thieves to gather information. Some wish lists reveal occupations, ages, schools, and addresses, which can help identity thieves steal information.
  3. Verify Email Sources: Hackers can send phishing emails with links to malware in an effort to gather data from company employees. Employees should verify if an email comes from a legitimate source before they respond to it. Employees can check the domain of the email address to verify its source. If employees are unsure of the legitimacy of the email, they should consult their IT department or err on the side of caution.

Data breaches can also have a significant impact on financials for companies. Recently, Verizon Communications decreased its initial $4.8 billion acquisition offer for Yahoo after the Internet company revealed that user data had been compromised by multiple data breaches. Verizon also revised their transaction terms so that both Yahoo and Verizon must equally share any future legal costs resulting from the uncovered data breaches. In addition, Yahoo will be entirely responsible for any liabilities that are a result of shareholder lawsuits and investigations by securities regulators.

Data breaches can have a severe impact on companies and their employees—from impacting the bottom line to causing identity theft issues for employees and customers. Endpoint management helps companies keep their networks secure through continuous network monitoring and software patch updates. With endpoint security, companies can prevent hackers from conducting a data breach.