Data breaches and cyberattacks are scary and not just for consumers but also for IT professionals and small business owners. It’s hard to really grasp the level of fear that these attacks generate. Successful cyberattacks cost businesses a lot of money by scaring away investors and customers not to mention the expensive damage that can be done to an organizations computer network. The average cost of cyber crime attacks per organisation in the United States is estimated at 12.69 million U.S. dollars. Second-ranked is Germany averaging 8.13 million U.S. dollars in damages per company attack.
Here’s a discouragingly long list of some of the biggest retail cyber attacks of the past year.
Sony. One of the most recent hacks, the Sony break-in compromised 47,000 social security numbers, sometimes with accompanying names, birth dates, and addresses.
Neiman Marcus. One of the first announced hacks of the year, the Neiman Marcus attack actually took place in 2013. The data breach set off alerts in the company’s security system 60,000 times. The data of 350,000 customers was compromised.
Sally Beauty. Slightly better than the Neiman Marcus breach. Only—only!—280,000 unlucky customers had their data compromised.
White Lodging. White Lodging is a hotel management company that manages franchises for hotels such as the Hilton, Marriott, and Sheraton. In February it was announced that there had been a data breach in the restaurants and gift shops in 14 of the managed hotels.
Michaels. The craft supply store announced in January that the credit card information of 2.6 million customers had possibly been exposed in a breach that lasted eight months. Not only that: in its subsidiary Aaron Brothers stores, another 400,000 cards may have been compromised.
Affinity Gaming. The company, which manages casinos, announced that they found evidence in May that their credit card system had been hacked.
Bebe Stores. The women’s clothing chain confirmed in December that there had been a data breach in November in their 175 retail stores.
Staples. Staples announced in December that it had suffered a data breach occurring over a period of six months that compromised 1.16 million credit and debit cards. The data breach was discovered because the stolen card information was being used for fraudulent purchases.
Albertsons. Cyber thieves hacked into a series of stores under the Albertsons’ umbrella, including SuperValu, Acme, Shaw’s Supermarket, Hornbacher’s, Star Market, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Shop ‘N Save, and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.
PF Changs. In June, the restaurant chain announced that a security breach had occurred that affected the information of its customers at 33 restaurants.
UPS. UPS announced in August that credit card information might have been compromised at 51 UPS stores.
Dairy Queen. The Dairy Queen breach may have affected 600,000 unfortunate ice cream lovers.
Goodwill. The Goodwill breach compromised 868,000 debit and credit cards.
Home Depot. This was one of the hugest breaches of the year, with a mind-boggling 56 million debit and credit cards affected.
Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks is an online bookseller. Its online system was hacked last spring, with data from just over 5,000 customers being stolen.
Kmart. Kmart revealed in October that a data breach had taken place in its system.
Staples. The Staples breach may have compromised the credit and debit card information of 1.16 million customers.
Domino’s Pizza. The pizza chain had the information of 650,000 customers in Belgium and France stolen and held for ransom by the hacking group Rex Mundi.
EBay. Hackers absconded with name, address, phone number, and birth date information on 145 million accounts.
Jimmy John’s. The sandwich chain announced in September that credit and debit card information had been compromised at 216 outlets.
Spec’s. This Texas wine chain suffered a 17-month breach that compromised the information of perhaps 550,000 customers.
Whew, pretty bad, so perhaps it’s not surprising the Secret Service estimated that 1,000 American merchants were affected by attacks like this during the summer of 2014 and that many of them didn’t even know it. It’s war out there, and according to the Ponemon Institute, only one-third of computer security experts say they do continuous database monitoring. Twenty-two percent say they don’t monitor at all, which makes winning the war a challenge.
Although many organizations are still lacking confidence in their ability to prevent a cyber attack or data breach there are many highly-developed and proven security tools available that provide a vital layer of protection from security threats to help IT Pros secure their organizations.