Today is Halloween but it isn’t the only time of year you should be on high alert. It also happens to be the last day of Cyber Security Awareness Month. As Business Insider recently shared, of the 15 largest data breaches in history, ten of them took place in the past decade alone. Altogether, nearly 4 billion records have been stolen from people in the last ten years.
In honour of the spookiest day of the year, we're sharing the five scariest facts about data breaches along with tips on finding out whether any of your accounts have been compromised and how you can keep them safe year-round.
64 per cent of companies have experienced web-based attacks
These attacks aren’t just targeted at huge conglomerates. In fact, 65 per cent of cyber-security attacks are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Higher education, energy and the healthcare sectors are also amongst the most-frequently targeted.
The average cost of a data breach for Canadian companies is $6.2 million
Canada had the third-most security breaches of any country in 2017. Each year, Canada loses 0.17 per cent of GDP ($3.12 billion) to cyber crime.
There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds
Over 72 million identities were stolen in Canada in 2017. Those with non-secure usernames and passwords are more likely to be prayed on.
95 per cent of cyber security breaches are due to human error
Generally corporate data breaches are infiltrated through organizations' employees. Cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link.
By 2020 there will be approximately 200 billion connected devices
While the Internet of Things (IoT) makes our lives easier, these connected devices can increase security vulnerabilities.
How to Protect Yourself from Breaches and Cyber Crime
The scariest thing about data breaches is that they are typically avoidable. A user's weak password is the key to a hacker’s success. Many times, users are caught using the same password across various accounts which means that if a hacker cracks or gains access to your password on one website with low security, they can then get into a higher-risk platform (i.e., your personal banking or private messages) with the same password. Even in 2019, stats show that users are still making common mistakes and choosing weak password combinations.
According to The Threat Report, the worst passwords of 2018 included: 123456, password, 111111, sunshine, qwerty, iloveyou, princess, admin, welcome, and Donald.
Have your accounts been compromised?
The reality is even the most tech-savvy people can fall victim to cyber crime. To check whether any of your accounts have been compromised, visit have i been pwned? Type in your email address to find out if you have been subject to any organizations data breaches and for which accounts. Don't panic, there are easy ways to help protect yourself against any future breaches.
- Create complex and hard-to-crack passwords. Try creating a password with multiple random characters (with both upper and lower cases), numbers and special characters. This can be easily done by using a password generator. If you'd rather create one yourself, be sure to use at least four unrelated words that are each five characters or longer (i.e., AutumnSleepPurpleRiver934!). Avoid using names or dates that can be easily guessed, such as your children, spouse or parents. Remember, the more random you make it the harder it will be to crack.
- Keep your account access secure. This means not clicking "remember password” on your browser or keeping your list of passwords stored on your phone. To avoid third-party hacking, it’s also important to not login to a website using your Facebook (or other social media) account – an increasingly common option. It's always better to create unique login credentials for each account and opt for a Password Management tool like dashlane to keep them organized securely.
- If a website lets you use the password “password”, be weary. It’s best to trust websites that will only accept complex and distinct passwords – they’re more likely to take their data security more seriously.
While data breaches are certainly scary, there are ways to stay protected. The harder you make it for a hacker to get into your account, the more difficult it will be for them to succeed.
Wishing you a happy and safe Halloween!
Sources: https://www.cybintsolutions.com/cyber-security-facts-stats, https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-10-facts-about-todays-cybersecurity-landscape-that-you-should-know.html, https://cctx.ca/cyber-facts