Last week we saw the ousted FBI Director James Comey sensationally claim that he has “no doubt” the Russian government and hackers were behind the DNC hack to influence last year’s presidential elections.

Data breaches, cybersecurity, and identity theft can be a huge burden for businesses and customers. In 2016, reported data breaches increased by 40 percent. Yahoo recently announced the largest data breach in history, with more than one billion accounts affected.

Historical hacks come back to haunt us, and fresh breaches bite our behinds. If you thought last year’s breach which affected more than 3 billion records was bad, this year has seen a fair share of headaches.

Notable Data Breaches in May 2017

On May 31, 2017, Sears Holding, the parent company of Kmart revealed that Kmart’s store payment systems were infected with malware and data breached. The malware code was removed, but the company did not share the extent of the damage.

On May 31, 2017, OneLogin, a San Francisco-based company that allows users to manage logins on multiple sites and applications using a cloud-based platform reported devastating data breaches. During the data breach, encrypted data was decrypted. This week, OneLogin security chief revealed new details of the data breach. Investigations are ongoing, and the full extent of the damage is still unknown.

Another recent incident occurred on May 17, 2017 affecting DocuSign. Customers and users of DocuSign, an electronic signature provider, were targeted by a malware phishing attack. On this attack, hackers used email addresses to conduct malicious email campaign whereby DocuSign-branded messages were sent out as an attachment for download by unsuspecting recipients.

Cybersecurity Concern For Business

According to 2017 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec, cyber criminals have revealed new levels of ambition and malice. Data breaches are now driven by innovation, sophistication, and organization to produce ominous results.

Cybersecurity has become more of concern for businesses. This year, continue to face complex security threats. There is a growth of new malware that can bypass your antivirus and other levels of protection.

Ransomware is on the rise. More than 4,000 ransomware attacked have occurred every year over the last one year. Ransomware and phishing work together with statistics from PhishMe showing a rising trend.

How Companies are Responding to New Cybersecurity Attack

When it comes to data breaches, the risk for organizations is high. The risks can range from the easily calculable costs of notification and business loss to the less tangible effect on a company’s brand and customer loyalty.

Here are some suggestions to curb the rising cyberattacks

  • Look beyond IT security when establishing your company’s cyber protection

To eliminate threats to your business, security issues should be beyond your company’s IT department. A company must evaluate employee exit strategies and enforce new policies and procedures to safeguard any loose data.

Conduct periodic risk assessment and equally provide training and technical support to all your staff. You may consider retaining third-party corporate breach and data security experts to analyze the level of risk and exposure befalling your business.

  • Educate employees about appropriate data handling

The fact remains that thieves can’t steal what you don’t have. Data minimization is a dominant element of preparedness. Do not collect information that you don’t need. Reduce the number of places you retain your data. Grant employees access to only the data they require.

  • Make necessary changes after an attack

Companies that suffered a data breach or an attempted cyber attack need to adjust their security plans. Though it may look like a no-brainer to bolster protection after a successful attack, a lack of additional spending or a decrease in the budget makes a change in security a harder sell.

  • Perform Real-Time Process Monitoring

There is always a real-time application to protect yourself depending on the operating system you are using on your computers and servers.

  • Don’t rely on encryption as your only method of cyber defense

Encrypting data that’s in transit and at rest is a good practice, but when used alone, it can give businesses a false sense of security. Look at other ways of storing and protecting data that is more complex than encryption. Keep abreast with security software updates and patches.

The business impacts of cybersecurity attack and data breach can be devastating, both above and below the surface. Well-known cyber incident costs are enormous. These costs can range from customer breach notifications, post-breach customer protection, regulatory compliance, attorney fees and litigation, cybersecurity improvements and technical investigations.

The hidden or less visible costs include; increases insurance premiums, higher cost to raise debts, operations disruption and destruction, lost value of customer relationships, devaluation of trade name and loss of intellectual property.

There is no a better time to protect ourselves from cyber attacks than now!