Data Breach, Cyber Alert Monday 3-2-2020 Data Access

Last week, small businesses fail to prevent phishing attacks, online shoppers have their data access snatched, and a new study reveals the prominent role of human error in data breaches.

United States – Idaho Central Credit Union

Exploit: Unauthorized data access
Idaho Central Credit Union: Financial institution

Risk to Small Business: 1.555 = Severe: The Idaho Central Credit Union has reported two data access breaches that compromised personally identifiable customer information. The first incident occurred in November 2019 when a third-party mortgage portal was victimized by hackers. While investigating the first breach, cybersecurity experts identified a second incident stemming from several compromised employee email accounts. In today’s digital economy, a company’s competitive advantage is predicated on its ability to protect customer data. Two consecutive data breaches will have far-reaching repercussions for the credit union.

Individual Risk: 2.142 = Severe: In both incidents, the personally identifiable information of the bank’s customers was compromised. This included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, financial account information, tax identification numbers, and other sensitive financial details. Cybercriminals can redeploy this information in a host of harmful ways. Those impacted by the breach should enroll in identity and credit monitoring services as soon as possible.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Email accounts are serious vulnerabilities for every company, as there are many ways by which cybercriminals can exploit social engineering and malware to find their way in. However, every company can lock down their email accounts by implementing two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access, even if login credentials are compromised.

United States – Monroe County Hospital & Clinics

Exploit: Phishing scam
Monroe County Hospital & Clinics: Public medical practice

Risk to Small Business: 1.666 = Severe: Hackers gained access to the clinic’s email system, which contained patients’ protected health information. The breach, which was discovered in December 2019, spanned several months and gave bad actors plenty of time to misuse patient data. Now Monroe County Hospital and Clinics face intense regulatory scrutiny due to the sensitive nature of the breach, and their reputation has been badly damaged in an industry that is especially sensitive to privacy concerns. In addition to other recovery expenses, they will bear the cost burden of providing credit and identity monitoring services for the thousands of patients impacted by the breach.

Individual Risk: 2.428 = Severe: Personal data was compromised in the breach. This includes names, dates of birth, addresses, insurance information, and treatment information. In some cases, patients’ Social Security numbers were also exposed. Those impacted by the breach are encouraged to enroll in the credit monitoring service provided by the company and monitor their accounts and digital communications for potential instances of fraud.

Customers Impacted: 7,500

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Despite incredible advancements in fraud detection technology, phishing scams will inevitably make their way into employees’ inboxes. When employees engage with malicious content, it can have enormous consequences for your organization. Nobody wants to endure the rising costs associated with a data breach, and comprehensive employee awareness training can ensure that those phishing scams don’t impact your bottom line.

Australia – Ashley Madison 

Exploit: Unauthorized database access
Ashley Madison: Adult romance website

Risk to Small Business: 2 = SevereCybercriminals are redeploying data from Ashley Madison’s 2016 data breach to target Australian users with sextortion emails. These messages contain intimate and highly personal information gleaned from the breach, and cybercriminals are threatening to publicly release the information if victims don’t pay a Bitcoin ransom. The emails are highly personalized and include sensitive personal details derived from the initial data breach. While it’s easy to write-off a data breach at an adult website, it reflects the IT environment experienced by any company that collects personal data, and the many ways that hackers exploit that information to make money.

Individual Risk: 2.142= SevereThe personalized emails include users’ names, bank account numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and dates of birth. It also contains private content and communications conducted on the website.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Data access breaches impact more than just a company’s bottom line. They often have tangible consequences for each individual compromised in a breach, and even years after a breach, they can continually reappear, causing personal, psychological, and financial trouble for victims. It should encourage every company to take every step possible to protect personal data.

Risk Levels:
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.


In Other News:

3 GDPR-Covered Countries Experience 100,000 Breaches

It’s been nearly two years since GDPR changed the data privacy landscape by bringing regulatory oversight to the digital Wild West. According to the latest reports, more than 160,000 data breaches have been reported in that span. Incredibly three countries account for 100,00 breaches – The Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

These numbers reflect both the undeniable value of stealing sensitive personal data and the difficulty that many organizations experience when trying to protect that information. As a result, GDPR fines are becoming increasingly common for companies under the regulations’ purview. The ten most significant GDPR breaches have resulted in hefty financial penalties totaling an eye-popping sum of nearly $500 million.

Europe isn’t the only country implementing regulatory standards for data security. In the US, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and New York’s SHIELD Act both reinforce and extend GDPR’s expectations. At ID Agent, our comprehensive Compliance Manager is ready to help your organization achieve, maintain, and document compliance.


A Note From Kobargo

Human Error is a Top Cause of Data Access Breaches 

Companies face cybersecurity threats on many fronts every day, but human error may be the most pervasive – and the most preventable. A 2019 study analyzing data from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office found that human error played a role in 90% of data breaches last year. This represents a significant increase from just two years ago when only 61% of breaches were attributed to human error.

The study concluded that phishing scams were the primary cause of breaches with unauthorized access to systems ranking a close second. However, the study’s authors were also quick to point out that while employees represent a noteworthy data privacy risk, they can also serve as a critical defense against cybercriminals. When equipped with the right tools, like phishing scam awareness training, employees can be transformed from a potential weak point into a crucial asset in the fight against cybercriminals and fraud.


Contact Kobargo Technology Partners to schedule a free consultation today!

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Data Breach, Cyber Alert Monday 2-21-2020

Last week, companies are slow to stop phishing attacks, ransomware disrupts productivity, and IBM’s latest threat analysis outlines trends for 2020.  

Multi-factor authentication attacks on the rise. Use additional authentication and educate users

United States – Altice USA 

Exploit: Phishing Attack
Altice USA: Cable and internet provider

Risk to Small Business: 2 = SevereA phishing attack tricked an employee into providing hackers with email credentials that were used to access and download inbox content remotely. Although the breach was announced on February 5th, the phishing scam was executed in November 2019. It wasn’t discovered until December 2019, which raises questions about the company’s data security capabilities and notification strategy. As a result, Altice USA will have a difficult time restoring customer confidence, which will be critical to recovering from this preventable data breach.

Individual Risk: 2.285 = SevereCustomers’ personal information was compromised in the breach. This includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other personal details. The company claims that financial information was untouched by the breach and is offering free identity and credit monitoring services for affected victims to protect compromised data.

Customers Impacted: 12,000

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Phishing attacks are easy to deploy, and they are devastating to companies compromised by malicious messages. Although security processes are unlikely to keep all phishing emails out of their employees’ inboxes, they can render the attacks useless by providing comprehensive awareness training that teaches and trains employees to identify phishing scams.

United States – St. Louis Community College

Exploit: Phishing Attack
St. Louis Community College: Public academic institution

Risk to Small Business: 2.111 = SevereSeveral employees fell for a phishing scam that compromised students’ personal information. The phishing attack, which took place on January 13th, happened just weeks before the school implemented two-factor authentication on January 31st. If this effective defensive measure was in place sooner, hackers would not have been able to access employee accounts, even after they provided their credentials on a phishing form. In response, the college is retraining employees who clicked on a phishing email, and they are updating their procedures to prevent a similar event in the future.

Individual Risk: 2.428 = SevereStudents’ personal data was compromised in the breach, including names, ID numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. In addition, 71 students had their Social Security numbers stolen. This information can be used to execute identity fraud or to target victims with spear-phishing campaigns that could provide hackers with even more damaging personal data. Those impacted by the breach should enroll in credit and identity monitoring services to oversee the responsibility of identifying misuse, and they should carefully evaluate online communications for signs of a phishing scam.

Customers Impacted: 5,000

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: This incident is a tragic reminder that, when it comes to data security, timing is everything. Phishing attacks awareness training and two-factor authentication can go a long way toward protecting the company and customer data, but they need to be in place before an attack occurs. Therefore, installing proactive measures should be a top priority in the days and weeks ahead.

Australia – Ashley Madison 

Exploit: Unauthorized database access
Ashley Madison: Adult romance website

Risk to Small Business: 2 = SevereCybercriminals are redeploying data from Ashley Madison’s 2016 data breach to target Australian users with sextortion emails. These messages contain intimate and highly personal information gleaned from the breach, and cybercriminals are threatening to publicly release the information if victims don’t pay a Bitcoin ransom. The emails are highly personalized and include sensitive personal details derived from the initial data breach. While it’s easy to write-off a data breach at an adult website, it reflects the IT environment experienced by any company that collects personal data, and the many ways that hackers exploit that information to make money.

Individual Risk: 2.142= SevereThe personalized emails include users’ names, bank account numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and dates of birth. It also contains private content and communications conducted on the website.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Data breaches impact more than just a company’s bottom line. They often have tangible consequences for each individual compromised in a breach, and even years after a breach, they can continually reappear, causing personal, psychological, and financial trouble for victims. It should encourage every company to take every step possible to protect personal data.

Risk Levels:
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.


In Other News:

More than Half of British Consumers Endured a Data Breach in 2019 

The latest IBM threat report examines the most prescient threats facing business in 2020, and its findings should alarm cybersecurity leaders. Notably, the report found that hackers are not turning to overly sophisticated techniques to access company IT. Rather, they are relying on the deluge of personal data already available to access an organization’s infrastructure. When those methods fail, many are deploying phishing scams as a cheap, relatively safe way to compromise employee credentials.

According to IBM, phishing attacks and unauthorized credential use were two of the most prominent attack methodologies, with the exploitation of vulnerabilities completing a risk triumvirate for companies to address in the year ahead.

The report’s silver lining is that companies are not powerless against these threats. Employee awareness training can render these attacks useless, and integrated two-factor authentication can prevent unauthorized account access even when credentials are compromised. Together, they present a meaningful way for every company to protect itself against the most likely threats in the year ahead.


A Note From Kobargo

Ransomware Attacks Are Driving Up Cyber Insurance Rates 

Ransomware attacks were one of the defining cybersecurity threats of 2019, and just one month into 2020, it’s clear that bad actors will continue to deploy this malware to capitalize on their criminality. As companies grapple with the implications of this new reality, many are turning to cybersecurity insurance as a way to offset the cost and consequences of an attack. Unfortunately, ransomware attacks have become so common that cyber insurance rates have soared in response.

According to some reports, cybersecurity insurance has increased by as much as 25% in the past year. At the same time, insurance companies are expanding their offerings, adapting their business model for shifting data security and regulatory landscape. However, companies relying on cyber insurance will likely be disappointed as payouts rarely cover the cost of an attack, and increasingly high premiums make it an affordable option to begin with.

Instead, many organizations would be better off investing in a robust defense strategy that can defend against a ransomware attack before it happens. It’s the only way to truly avoid the escalating costs and consequences of a ransomware attack.


Contact Kobargo Technology Partners to schedule a free consultation today!

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Data Breach, Cyber Alert Monday 2-17-2020 – Ransomware

Last week, ransomware erodes productivity, a malware attack permanently destroys patient data, and a new study reveals the extent of data breaches in the UK.  

More than 50,000 companies worldwide have been impacted by payment skimming malware

United States – TV Eyes 

Exploit: Ransomware
TV Eyes: Media monitoring service

Risk to Small Business: 2.222 = SevereAn unidentified ransomware strain has disabled the network’s core servers and engineering workstations. As a result, clients have been unable to access any information, which could have broad and long-lasting financial consequences for the media monitoring company. TV Eyes has declined to pay the ransom. Still, brand erosion and opportunity costs will make this an expensive attack at a critical time for the company, whose services are widely used by news outlets and PR agencies to access media content for reporting purposes.

Individual Risk: 2.875 = ModerateAt this time, no personal information was compromised in the breach. However, some PR professionals and media members had expressed fears that their data was compromised before hackers encrypted their files. Those impacted by the breach should update their account credentials while being especially critical of digital communications.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: In addition to academic and government institutions, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting businesses that store customer data. Many are now willing to compromise customer data if ransom demands aren’t met, a new reality that significantly increases the potential damage of a ransomware attack. Since ransomware attacks always require a vulnerability to gain network access, companies should regularly assess their defensive postures to ensure that they are prepared for this nefarious attack methodology.

United States – Electronic Warfare Associates (EWA)

Exploit: Ransomware
Electronic Warfare Associates (EWA): Electronic product and services company

Risk to Small Business: 2.111 = SevereCybercriminals encrypted the company’s web servers, leaving customer-facing signs of a cyberattack even several days after the event. In response, the company took down the affected servers, and it’s unclear how much of the company’s internal IT is impacted by the attack. More than a week after the attack was discovered by security researchers, EWA still hasn’t issued a statement to the public. This lack of transparency could complicate their recovery process, which already promises to be an arduous journey due to the complicated nature of their business.

Individual Risk: No personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Ransomware attacks often come with cascading consequences that impact every part of a business. Not only does this attack vector come with high up-front expenses, but the reputational damage and opportunity cost can be even more damaging. Every company should assess its threat landscape to ensure that it can adequately defend against a devastating ransomware attack.

United States – Fondren Orthopedic Group 

Exploit: Malware attack
Fondren Orthopedic Group: Orthopedic healthcare services provider

Risk to Small Business: 1.555 = SevereA malware attack destroyed a number of the medical provider’s patient records. The incident was first discovered in November 2019, but IT administrators only recently identified the permanent damage to their digital records. As a result, patients have to complete new patient information forms that include detailed medical histories. Given the sensitive and incredibly important nature of this information, this attack could negatively impact patient care, and it will undoubtedly invite regulatory oversight.

Individual Risk: 2.285 = SevereFondren Orthopedic Group noted that there is no evidence of patient information being compromised. However, the lost data includes patients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, treatment data, and healthcare information. It stands to reason that if hackers can erase patient data, then they can also use it for other nefarious purposes. Those impacted by the breach should carefully monitor their online accounts for unusual or suspicious activity, and they should scrutinize digital communications because compromised data is often redeployed in spear-phishing attacks.

Customers Impacted: 30,049

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: After this devastating malware attack, Fondren Orthopedic Group announced an update to their cybersecurity practices, a move that is too little, too late for the thousands of patients impacted by the breach. There are many steps companies can take to mitigate the risk of a data breach, but those steps need to be taken before an incident occurs. Otherwise, these measures serve as vanity metrics as opposed to a defensive strategy.

Risk Levels:
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.


In Other News:

More than Half of British Consumers Endured a Data Breach in 2019 

Globally, data breaches are increasing in both frequency and scope, a reality that is acutely felt by users in the United Kingdom. According to a new study, 58% of UK citizens experienced a data breach in the past twelve months. While today’s cyber threats are complicated and multifaceted, the study attributed the rise of increasingly complicated phishing attacks as a primary vector for data compromise.

Not too long ago, we reported on four phishing attack trends that were impacting the data security landscape, and it’s clear that those methodologies were astonishingly effective at compromising user data in the past year.

However, the report didn’t just identify the troubling trend. It recommends that users ditch their redundant, simplistic, and overly-personal passwords for strong, unique passwords across all of their accounts. Also, it encouraged users to adopt two-factor authentication as an effective way to prevent cybercriminals from gaining account access.

While business email compromise is enabling data breaches with stunning frequency, companies and consumers are not powerless. Contact ID Agent today to learn about our industry-leading tools for repelling phishing scams and protecting account integrity with two-factor authentication.


A Note From Kobargo

Phishing Scam Invokes Executive to Trick Employees 

An employee of Village Care Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (VCRN), a non-profit healthcare provider, fell for a complicated phishing scam that compromised patients’ protected health information. The fraudulent message was purportedly sent from a company executive, a scenario that inherently elicited the employee’s trust to provide authority for sharing data via email.

The episode is indicative of how phishing scams have evolved to become more personal and difficult to detect. With data breaches only becoming more expensive and consequential, every business should review and update its security awareness training to ensure that it accounts for the latest threats and trends.

In other words, identifying unsophisticated spear-phishing emails with a spam filter won’t be enough to combat today’s phishing scam trends. However, comprehensive employee awareness training, like that offered by ID Agent, can ensure that your company is protecting against phishing scams.


Contact Kobargo Technology Partners to schedule a free consultation today!

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Data Breach, Cyber Alert Monday 2-10-2020 – Malware

Last week, a phishing scam compromised an entire healthcare network, malware impacted productivity, and ransomware attacks become costlier than ever.

train employees how to recognize cyberattacks is underspent in the cybersecurity industry yet 90% of hacks stem from phishing

United States – Tampa Bay Times 

Exploit: Ransomware
Tampa Bay Times: Local news organization

Risk to Small Business: 2.111 = SevereCybercriminals infected Hanna Andersson’s online store with payment skimming malware that collects customers’ personally identifiable information. The breach impacted customers shopping between September 16 and November 11, 2019. The company only identified the breach after being notified by law enforcement, and the consequences were exacerbated because Hanna Andersson failed to follow PCI standards for payment card encryption and CVV management. As a result, the company will likely face both customer blowback and regulatory scrutiny, neither of which will help the business thrive.

Individual Risk: No personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Cybercriminals are frequently turning to ransomware attacks to exploit companies that can’t or won’t protect their critical IT. These attacks are relatively easy to deploy, and, for organizations unprepared to defend themselves, they are uniquely expensive. With today’s threat landscape, it’s critical to regularly assess and update your defense posture to meet the moment.

United States – California Healthcare Network

Exploit: Phishing scam
California Healthcare Network: Hospital and urgent care center operator

Risk to Small Business: 1.888 = SevereEmployees fell for a phishing scam that compromised patients’ protected health information (PHI). The company first discovered the breach on June 19, 2019, when it secured accounts by resetting login credentials. However, an additional investigation revealed that patient data was compromised in the breach. The California Healthcare Network is notifying patients of the incident and updating the email security standards, but the real test is certainly still ahead. Healthcare data breaches are the most expensive of any sector, and the company will undoubtedly endure intense regulatory scrutiny because of the sensitive nature of the breach.

Individual Risk: 2.428 = SevereHackers had access to patient data contained in employee email accounts. California Health Network declined to provide specific data categories, but healthcare records often include patients’ most sensitive personal data. The access is limited between June 11, 2019, and June 18, 2019, but the information has now been available for more than six months, so those impacted by the breach will want to work quickly to secure their data. The California Healthcare Network is offering free credit monitoring services to all victims.

Customers Impacted: 199,548

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Most data breaches begin with a successful phishing scam. Every organization has a responsibility to train its employees in defensive best practices, which is a relative bargain compared to the high cost of a data breach. In doing so, organizations transform a known vulnerability into a valuable asset to their defensive posture.

Germany – City of Potsdam 

Exploit: Malware attack
City of Potsdam: Local municipality

Risk to Small Business: 2 = SevereA malware attack forced the City of Potsdam to bring its network entirely offline to prevent further expansion and data exfiltration. As a result, government employees cannot send or receive an email, and most administrative functions are inaccessible. While emergency services remain unharmed, there will be a significant cost for the government, as worker productivity slows, sales opportunities are missed, and recovery efforts eat away at precious resources.

Individual Risk: No personal information was compromised in the breach.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Data breaches continue to become more expensive, partly because the opportunity costs are so high. In the digital age, cyberattacks can render an organization useless, eroding their bottom line and dampening the future financial outlook. Unfortunately, many organizations can’t sustain that level of financial loss and are forced to close their doors. However, a strong defense posture can ensure that your business is ready to thrive amidst today’s evolving threat landscape.

Risk Levels:
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.


In Other News:

Recovering From a Ransomware Attack is More Expensive Than Ever 

2019 saw a steep rise in the number of ransomware attacks impacting vulnerable organizations. Unfortunately, recovering from these attacks is becoming more expensive than ever. According to a new report, the total recovery cost of a ransomware attack doubled in the last quarter of the year, reaching $84,116.

In some cases, the cost is increasing because cybercriminals demand higher ransoms, but other factors, including hardware replacement, lost revenue, and brand erosion, all contribute to this incredibly high sum.

In addition, the report detailed the latest escalation in ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals are not content with just encrypting data and demanding Bitcoin payments anymore. They are increasingly willing to release company data online, which can provide both a greater incentive for companies to pay the ransomware and add a secondary revenue stream for criminal operations. Taken together, it’s clear that today’s organizations need to reassess their defensive postures as it relates to this escalating threat.

Notably, ransomware always requires an access point and a foothold to encrypt company data. Closing off common loopholes like phishing emails and securing employee accounts with simple, effective tools like two-factor authentication can help ensure that your organization isn’t the next victim of an expensive ransomware attack.


A Note From Kobargo

Canada Plans to Update Its Data Privacy Laws 

Data privacy regulations are becoming par for the course in today’s dangerous digital landscape. In addition to Europe’s tone-setting General Data Protection Regulation, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and New York’s SHIELD Act bring robust privacy regulation to the US. Now, Canadian authorities are indicating that they are ready to update the country’s data privacy laws as well.

According to the country’s Privacy Commissioner, David Therrien, Canada wants to update its mechanisms for providing support to individuals and accountability for companies. Currently, two federal statutes regulate data privacy in Canada, and when the country updated their requirements in 2018, the number of reported breaches increased six-fold in the following year.

It’s likely that Canada will continue to update its guidelines, specifically in the area of enforcement. By implementing financial penalties for data security, Canada would more closely align its data privacy laws with other prominent regulations. Collectively, it’s clear that digital platforms no longer operate in a veritable Wild West. Instead, companies are going to need to learn how to achieve and demonstrate compliance with multifaceted privacy laws around the world.


Contact Kobargo Technology Partners to schedule a free consultation today!

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Data Breach, Cyber Alert Monday 2-3-2020

Last week, malware compromises online stores, accidents lead to expensive data breaches, and phishing scams top the UK’s threat list.  

United States – Hanna Andersson 

Exploit: Malware attack
Hanna Andersson: Children’s clothing maker

Risk to Small Business: 2.222 = SevereCybercriminals infected Hanna Andersson’s online store with payment skimming malware that collects customers’ personally identifiable information. The breach impacted customers shopping between September 16 and November 11, 2019. The company only identified the breach after being notified by law enforcement, and the consequences were exacerbated because Hanna Andersson failed to follow PCI standards for payment card encryption and CVV management. As a result, the company will likely face both customer blowback and regulatory scrutiny, neither of which will help the business thrive.

Individual Risk: 2.285 = SevereHackers obtained customers’ personal and financial data entered at checkout. This includes their names, shipping addresses, billing addresses, payment card numbers, CVV codes, and expiration dates. Unfortunately, it appears that some customers were already victimized by hackers, as law enforcement identified the breach because of fraudulent purchases made online using these credentials. Therefore, anyone impacted by the breach should immediately notify their financial institutions of the event. They also need to carefully review their account details for unusual or fraudulent activity. Credit and identity monitoring services can keep an eye on long-term misuse, ensuring that victims’ information remains secure even after the urgency of the matter has decreased.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Customers and companies are increasingly unwilling to partner with organizations that can’t secure their data. Consequently, avoidable data breaches are an especially egregious way to compromise a company’s long-term viability. Inevitably, mistakes will be made, but identifying those errors and making corrections before hackers can capitalize on the information is critical to any defensive posture.

United States – Health Quest

Exploit: Phishing scam
Health Quest: Network of hospitals and healthcare providers

Risk to Small Business: 1.666 = SevereHealth Quest is updating its data breach announcement from an event that initially occurred in July 2018 when several employees fell for a phishing attack that compromised patients protected health information (PHI). In the attack, employees provided their email account credentials to hackers who used their information to access patient data. The hospital sent breach notifications in May 2019, but the latest announcement expands the depth and scope of the breach. However, it’s unclear why it took the company nearly a year to issue the initial notification and another year to update their assessment. Healthcare breaches are the most expensive of any sector, and Health Quest will likely endure high recovery costs along with intense regulatory scrutiny.

Individual Risk: 2.142 = SevereREMOVE

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: After the breach, Health Quest announced that it would implement two-factor authentication to secure employee accounts and is instituting employee awareness training to guard against future phishing attacks. Unfortunately, these efforts won’t recover any compromised data, and it won’t mitigate the damage from this breach. To protect data, these highly effective defense tactics need to be deployed before a breach occurs.

United States – The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopment 

Exploit: Phishing scam
The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopment (CNNH): Healthcare provider

Risk to Small Business: 1.777 = SevereHackers gained access to an employee account containing patients’ protected health information. The unauthorized access lasted for more than a month, occurring between October 7, 2019 and November 22, 2019. In response, CNNH secured the account and hired a third-party forensics team to investigate the breach. However, the diagnosis is unlikely to be positive, and the company likely faces an expensive road ahead.

Individual Risk: 2 = SevereThe data breach doesn’t include all CNNH patients, but hackers did have access to patient data contained in the employee email account. This could include patient names, addresses, dates of birth, health insurance information, medical/patient record numbers, and treatment information. CNNH encourages all victims to closely monitor their accounts and insurance statements to check for fraudulent activity and to notify their insurance providers if they discover false charges.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: CNNH secured the account by resetting its credentials and is updating company-wide email standards by enabling two-factor authentication and updating employee training initiatives. These simple data security measures should be standard at every company, and they have to be implemented before a breach occurs. With the cost and consequences of a breach continually increasing, companies can’t afford to wait until it’s too late to take steps to protect their data.

Risk Levels:
1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.


In Other News:

Phishing Tops UK Cyber Threat Landscape 

Today’s companies face a litany of cybersecurity threats, but, according to the results of a new study, none are more prevalent than phishing attacks. The study, which surveyed UK ICO reports, found that there were 1,080 phishing-related beaches in 2019, a significant increase from 877 the year before. In total, phishing attacks caused 45% of all data breaches. While other notable causes like unauthorized access, ransomware, and brute force password attacks run rampant, none are even close to as prominent as phishing attacks.

This trend reflects cybercriminals’ desire to target employees and individuals who may not be prepared to identify and respond to the innocent-looking messages that frequently arrive in their inboxes. In response, companies can focus their defense initiatives to combat this trend. Employee awareness training is a proven way for companies to transform their employees from a potent risk to a proven line of defense against cybercrime.

To get help implementing comprehensive employee awareness training, contact ID Agent to learn more about how our simulated phishing attacks can equip your employees to respond to this prominent threat. 


A Note From Kobargo

Data Privacy Fines Reach $126 Million 

It’s been just over a year and a half since GDPR’s implementation, and the fines are starting to add up. According to the latest report, the expansive data privacy regulation has levied $126 million in penalties on companies throughout Europe. To some, the fines are relatively modest, a reminder that regulatory oversight can be slow to impact businesses’ bottom lines. However, others see the figure as an ominous reminder that data privacy failures won’t come without consequences. 

At the same time, Europe isn’t the only place imposing financial penalties on companies that can’t protect customer data. California’s Consumer Privacy Act and New York’s SHIELD Act both carry monetary penalties. In 2020, it’s clear that regulation is going to become more normative, not less, and businesses need to prepare. Contact ID Agent today to improve your defensive posture and avoid regulatory fines resulting from a breach.


Contact Kobargo Technology Partners to schedule a free consultation today!

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