SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

2021 open season for attackers as compromised data increases

By Shannon Williams
Thu 27 Jan 2022

2021 was open season for attackers as ransomware gangs targeted health care facilities, schools, and critical infrastructure, with the number of publicly reported data compromises rising by 17% in 2021.

IT experts Totality Services have highlighted some key information to be aware of, why people or organisations might be targeted and the serious impact it could potentially have on business and life in general.

"Your personal information is not safe online. Data breaches happen on an almost daily basis, exposing people's email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers and other highly sensitive data," the company says. 

"And as businesses and individuals around the world begin to finally return to the office following over two years of enforced hybrid working, new challenges await for IT security teams."

What are data breaches?
A data security breach is defined as a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.

Who is after personal data?
IT security teams have always had the unenviable job of protecting their networks and sensitive data against a seemingly endless and ever-changing array of unseen foes, ranging from small-time high-school hackers to sophisticated cyber-criminal syndicates, to international espionage between nation-states.

Notable recent cases
In 2021, data security breaches continued to rise, including an infamous data breach by Facebook that made headlines around the world, after the personal data of 533 million users (including phone numbers, dates of birth, locations, full names and email addresses) were all exposed.

Serious repercussions
Data security breaches are far from being a victimless crime. If your identity is taken, you may have funds stolen from your online banking accounts, find it difficult to get future loans, credit cards or a mortgage. An identity thief can use numerous methods to find out your personal information and will then look to open bank accounts, take out credit cards, or open government benefits in your name.

In an attempt to help prevent individuals falling victim to a data security breach, Charlie Acfield, technical IT director at Totality Services, has shared five practical tips on what people should be aware of and how they can minimise the risks of being exposed when conducting their day-to-day business online.

  • Think before you click: Beware of emails, texts or other promotions that seem off or encourage you to urgently click on links. If you receive an enticing offer, do not click on the link. Instead, go directly to the company's website to verify the offer is legitimate.
  • Do your homework: Fraudsters are fond of setting up fake eCommerce sites. Prior to making a purchase, read reviews to hear what others say about the merchant. Check trusted sources, land in addition, look for a physical location and any customer service information.
  • Consider your payment options: Using a credit card is much better than using a debit card; there are more consumer protections for credit cards if something goes awry. There are now many services you can use to pay for purchases like Google Pay without giving the merchant your payment information directly
  • Watch what you give away: Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete your transaction. If the merchant is requesting more data than you feel comfortable sharing, cancel the transaction. You only need to fill out required fields at checkout and you should not save your payment information in your profile.
  • Keep tabs on your financial statements: Be sure to continuously check your accounts for any unauthorised activity. Good record keeping goes hand-in-hand with managing your cybersecurity. Another tip for monitoring activity is to set up alerts so that if your credit card is used, you will receive an instant message with the transaction details.

"The reality is most people aren't aware of how their personal information is collected, stored and used by many modern organisations. That said, with Data Privacy Week 2022 now kicking off, theres no better opportunity for individuals and businesses to learn more about this topic," Acfield says.

"Unfortunately, fraudsters are getting better and better at what they do by the day. Cybercriminals and their attacks are increasingly more sophisticated, no longer do we see so many giveaways such as spelling errors or suspicious looking links. Instead, they are researching and impersonating well-known companies and people," he says.

"However, we hope by highlighting the above five simple but important tips, people will be better able to educate themselves and be less likely to be caught unawares when conducting their business online."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Ransomware
Anniversaries remind us to review identity risks
World Password Day provides a timely reminder for ordinary citizens and organisations to stop and think about the risks associated with digital identities.
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet sees 34% revenue increase in latest financial results
Fortinet has released its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, seeing a total revenue increase of 34.4% compared to the same quarter last year.
Story image
Firewall
Sophos named Gartner Peer Insights Customers Choice for network firewalls
The company earned the highest overall customer rating among vendors with at least 150 verified customer reviews.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Forensics
Exterro adds advanced capabilities to digital forensic tool
The launch is in-line with Exterro’s investment in the FTK product line, and underscores the company's commitment to the digital forensics.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Versa Networks recognised as SASE leader in Govie Awards
Versa Networks has announced its SASE offering has been recognised in The Govies Government Security Awards competition by Security Today magazine.
Story image
Mitiga
Mitiga discovers potential hidden dangers in Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) cloud control plane
The company also says that there is significant risk in cloud development caused by not recognising the differences between cloud and traditional definitions of common architecture terms.
Story image
Cybersecurity
New report reveals evolving techniques targeting cloud-native environments
Companies are adopting cloud-native technologies faster than ever before. Unfortunately, with new technology comes new threats and challenges.
Story image
Blue Prism
Blue Prism Desktop uses IA to defend against vulnerabilities
SS&C Blue Prism Desktop aims to help protect businesses against vulnerabilities, using a combination of security measures and intelligent automation tech.
Story image
Microsoft
Apple, Google and Microsoft expands plans to get rid of passwords
FIDO Alliance says the world is closer to not relying on passwords after Apple, Google and Microsoft expands their support for a passwordless sign-in standard.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Phishing
Developments in phishing and how to protect your business
Phishing, the practice of sending malicious emails to encourage users to perform actions that benefit an attacker, is a key security concern for modern businesses due to its prevalence and impact.
Story image
APAC
Odaseva expands in APAC and UK with more security features
Odaseva, a data platform for Salesforce, is establishing new headquarters in London as well as a new data center in India.
Story image
Application Security
Data Theorem launches "industry first" attack surface management solution
"No solution uses full-stack application runtime analysis and dynamic inventory discovery to support the challenges around vendor management."
Story image
Cryptocurrency
Norton finds deepfakes and crypto scams rising in Australia
Norton says between January and March of this year, it thwarted more than 37,098,261 threats, the equivalent of around 403,241 threats per day.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Manufacturing
$1 million in cyber skills to stop $100 million in cybercrime
"It is important that the next generation across all industries, including manufacturing, are skilled in cybersecurity."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Global bot security market to reach US$2.5 billion by 2032
The global bot security market to reach US$2.5 billion by 2032 driven by a growing need for cyber security, according to a new report.
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Companies rushing to secure print infrastructure
As the pandemic prioritised communication channels and the shift to remote work, IT departments fell behind in updating the security of print and IT infrastructure.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Three key security challenges facing the Australian insurance industry 
Insurance companies must ensure they proactively address security challenges and protect the privacy of customer data.
Story image
Cybersecurity
New precedent for cybersecurity after legal judgement of RI Advice
In an Australian first, the Federal Court has found that RI Advice failed to adequately manage cybersecurity risks.
Story image
Surveillance
Genetec launches new enclosure management system for data centers
Genetec has released a new enclosure management solution that will give data centers the ability to secure, monitor and manage access to racks and cabinets remotely.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Cisco, Hitachi Vantara, Tricentis & Zscaler
We round up all job appointments from April 28 - May 5, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Training
HubSpot launches 'The Great Upskill' week to inspire learning
Brands across APAC including Google ANZ, MessageMedia, Meltwater, Seismic and Aircall, will give their employees a full workday to dedicate to upskilling.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils three new security managed services
Security Experts includes three new managed services, Defender Experts for Hunting, Defender Experts for XDR, Security Services for Enterprise.
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.