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This year is quickly becoming the “Year of Breaches.” Two departmental hacks cost the federal government money and confidential data. Most recently, a hack on the “infidelity website” known as Ashley Madison made the identities of thousands of formally confidential members public. Despite the disadvantages of these hacks, they can teach us some important things about cybersecurity.
Most recently, a hack on the infidelity website known as Ashley Madison made the identities of thousands of formally confidential members public. Despite the disadvantages of these hacks, they can teach us some important things about cybersecurity.
Hacks are very costly
Not only did Ashley Madison lose 10 gigabits of private data, but it will also likely lose millions of dollars in court costs and payouts. The Consumerist reported that the average cost of a hack is now $3.8 million, which is 23 percent more than it was just two years ago.
“The average cost of a hack is now $3.8 million, 23% more than two years ago.”
Everyone is at risk
Many companies assume they are not targets for an attack because they have no political, ethical or financial affiliation. In reality, every company is at risk. Every hacker is motivated by different reasoning. He or she could be driven by financial gain, activism or fame. There may not even be a reason for a hack except that the bad actor wants to challenge himself or herself. No company should assume that they are free from cyberattack. It is important to establish defenses and have a contingency plan in the event of an attack.
The repercussions are limitless
In the article “Small Business Impacts from the Ashley Madison Hack” the National Cybersecurity Institute wrote, “One key learning from the Ashley Madison hack and data release is the broad range of impacts a company’s breach can have. Businesses need to be prepared not just for potential hacks into its own network, but the fallout from other data breaches.”
Not only are the individuals who had accounts on the site subject to embarrassment, blackmail and information theft, but the hackers could also potentially gain access to any site an Ashley Madison user visited while logged in. This is especially true if account holders used their business emails for their profile.
Hacks like the OPM breach and the Ashley Madison leaks make it apparent that cybersecurity is not getting the attention it deserves. The government and business world should consider increasing their workforce of skilled information security professionals. To get on the front lines of this digital battleground, consider a career in cybersecurity.