Can Data Security Keep Up With Fraud, Bots and Hackers?

Innovations in security are wonderful, but if companies and consumers don’t use them, data leaks will continue unabated.

Hacking, fraud, and malicious bot activity online is getting more sophisticated. As businesses work to eliminate weak points in their security infrastructure, passwords may become obsolete. But are there more breaches, or is there simply more awareness related to breaches, hacking and fraud?

Motherboard contributor Jason Cox noted that breaches seem to be increasing rapidly. He quoted Keen, owner of breach archive Vigilante.pw:

[T]here were 64 dumps in 2011, followed by 71 in 2012, 107 in 2013 and 158 in 2014. But the following year, the number of breaches nearly doubled to 317. This year, there have been 183 breaches so far […] There’s definitely loads of data that I’m missing, but i think 1,300 DBs is a decent sample size.

According to Keen, part of the reason for the increase in breaches is the decided uptick in fraudulent or malicious activity overall. Everything from phishing attacks to more sophisticated bot traffic is leading to more security breaches and leaked data.

Other factors include an increase in hackers and other malicious users sharing data with one another, more of these users trading or selling stolen credentials and the rise in software designed to collect even more sensitive data.

Ransomware is so good at generating profit for the that it has become the target of piracy and theft itself. According to Motherboard, the leak of 3,500 potential decryption keys designed to unlock systems infected by ransomware known as “Chimera” was an attempt by rival ransomware creators to undermine the effectiveness of Chimera.

And this is the landscape businesses are fighting against as they endeavor to improve data security. Unfortunately, large amounts of unsecured or improperly secured data and vulnerabilities left unpatched have become common threads in data breaches. In certain places, even Heartbleed still hasn’t been patched.

The speed at which security innovations are implemented and adopted, by both consumers and businesses, clearly isn’t keeping pace with developments in hacking and fraud. Unpatched vulnerabilities continue to be exploited, companies continue to use weak protocols and users fail to take adequate steps to protect themselves. Innovations in security are wonderful, but if companies and consumers don’t use them, data leaks will continue unabated.

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