Last week, smart home technology targeted by hackers, a phishing scam breaches health information, and the UK has a rough year for data security.
United States - Alomere Health
Exploit: Phishing attack
Alomere Health: General medical and surgical hospital
Risk to Small Business: 1.777 = Severe: Two employees fell for a phishing scam that gave hackers access to patients’ protected health information. The first breach occurred between October 31, 2019, and November 1, 2019, while a second breach took place on November 6, 2019. In response, the company is updating its email security protocols, an effort that won’t restore the stolen data nor repair the company’s already-damaged reputation. In addition, Alomere Health could face regulatory penalties because of the nature and scope of the data breach.
Individual Risk: 2.285 = Severe: The compromised employee email accounts stored patient data, including names, addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, health insurance information, along with sensitive diagnosis and treatment details. In addition, some patients had their Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers exposed. Alomere Health is offering free credit and identity monitoring services to those impacted by the breach, and anyone affected should enroll in these services. In addition, they should be especially critical of online communications, as the stolen data can be deployed in phishing scams that can collect additional personal data.
Customers Impacted: 49,351
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Phishing scams are the leading cause of data breaches, but they are also entirely avoidable. With the cost associated with a compromise continually escalating, training employees to identify and avoid phishing scams is a relatively low-cost initiative that can transform employees into a robust defense rather than an imminent vulnerability.
United States - Wyze
Exploit: Unprotected database
Wyze: Low-budget home security company
Risk to Small Business: 2.222 = Severe: A cybersecurity company identified an exposed database containing the personal details of millions of Wyze users. The breach, which has not been confirmed by Wyze, is an unforced error that could have serious and financial and reputational implications. Smart home technology is often targeted by hackers due to its sensitive nature, and many consumers are already unwilling to work with companies that cannot protect their personal data, especially when it impacts their peace of mind and security.
Individual Risk: 2.428 = Severe: Users’ personal data, including email addresses, a list of cameras, camera names, Wi-Fi SSID, API tokens, and Alexa tokens, were all publicly available from the exposed database. Those impacted by the breach should reset their account passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and closely monitor their accounts for unusual activity.
Customers Impacted: 2,400,000
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Today’s consumers are beginning to make buying decisions based on a brand’s data security reputation. Especially in a sensitive sector like smart home technology, a strong cybersecurity posture is a prerequisite for long-term success. Unforced errors, such as leaving a database exposed, become especially egregious. Of course, mistakes do happen, and businesses need a response plan to contain the event and to identify the scope of the problem as quickly as possible.
United States - Children’s Choice Pediatrics
Children’s Choice Pediatrics: Pediatric healthcare provider
Risk to Small Business: 1.555 = Severe: A ransomware attack encrypted patient data and exposed patient records to hackers. The attack, which was discovered on October 27, 2019, encrypted the healthcare provider’s entire network. When records were restored, the provider discovered that some were irretrievably deleted. In response, Children’s Choice Pediatrics is upgrading its cybersecurity protocols to ensure that they don’t give a foothold to future ransomware attacks. However, the opportunity cost, reputational damage, and recovery expenses will continue to weigh down the practice now and for the foreseeable future.
Individual Risk: 2.285 = Severe: While hackers often encrypt company data to extract a ransom, many are turning to data theft as a means to exact additional money from a ransomware attack. In this case, some patients’ personally identifiable information may have been exposed to hackers. Those impacted by the breach should stay vigilant in monitoring their online accounts and scrutinizing digital communications as this data is often redeployed in phishing attacks that compromise additional data.
Customers Impacted: Unknown
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Reactive cybersecurity measures can’t undo the damage of a data breach. With the holistic cost associated with exposure at an all-time high, companies have millions of reasons to embrace a robust defensive posture against cybercrime. Often, this means starting by securing accounts using best practices, like two-factor authentication, to keep intruders out.
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:
UK Businesses Endured an Attack Every Minute in 2019
For companies around the world, 2019 was a terrible year for data security. This is especially true for UK businesses, which endured a deluge of cybersecurity episodes equal to an attack every minute. Individually, it’s estimated that each business experienced 576,575 attempts to compromise company data in 2019, a 152% year-over-year increase.
The report, compiled by Beaming, a Hastings-based ISP, identified China as the origin for nearly ⅕ of the attacks. Hackers commonly pursued domain admin tools and IoT endpoints to gain access to company networks. In total, the report concluded that 2019 was the worst year on record for UK data breaches. Moreover, the report cautioned SMBs to take cybersecurity issues more seriously by recognizing the profound risk and implementing basic protection plans, including adopting two-factor authentication to secure web platforms.
A Note From Kobargo
ID Agent Speaks with The Cyber Wire Podcast
This week, The Cyber Wire Podcast replayed my conversation in which I discussed the role of monitoring initiatives in helping victims recover from the 2015 data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management, which compromised 4.2 million government employees.
The data breach is one of the most significant data breaches in history, and it serves as a harbinger for our current data landscape. Hackers effectively obtained a dossier on millions of Americans and monitoring the Dark Web for this information was an enormous, sprawling effort that provided security and peace-of-mind to those impacted by the breach.
Listen to the Cyber Wire Podcast to learn more about the team responsible for restoring and protecting the identities of more than four million government employees in the Office of Personnel Management. Today, this type of data disaster is much more common, and the risk of both companies and consumers has never been higher. At ID Agent, we provide the tools to help protect your customer and company data from falling into the wrong hands