Data protection is imperative in the wake of recent security breaches.

Data protection imperative in wake of security breaches

Stephen Perkins

If a 17-year-old boy can build malware that takes down the security system of a retail giant, it seems anyone is susceptible to attack. The recent breach on Target's security system – and the subsequent revelation that a teenager likely designed the code that did the job – have pointed to the need for increased data protection across the board. Whether you are a retail giant or simply work for a small business, it is crucial to have the data protection measures in place to ensure you're not at risk.

Target was hit hardest by a series of attacks on major retailers' security systems that left tens of millions of customers' supposedly secure information – including addresses and credit card numbers – exposed. The Target breach led to the theft of credit card data belonging to 40 million customers, according to The Verge. IntelCrawler, a security firm, prepared a report in which it claimed a Russian teenager was behind the malware used in the attack. The report was based on a series of conversations IntelCrawler's CEO Andrew Komarov – operating under an alias - had with the alleged malware creator on a hackers chatroom. During the discussion, the teen offered up the malware for $2,000. The fact that he was selling it to other hackers suggests the malware is in wide circulation and has been used in other attacks. If left unchecked, it can continue to be used.

According to networking giant Cisco, attacks like the one on Target may just be the tip of the iceberg as cyberattacks grow in sophistication and size. Cisco released an Annual Security Report which details security issues over the past year. According to the report, data protection is more important now than ever before since data thieves are becoming more covert and are increasingly employing hide-in-plain-sight infiltration that makes them hard to spot.

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