DATA BREACHES IN U.S. ALLEGEDLY INCREASING AT RECORD PACE

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There are some things in the world that seem to be on a perpetually-increasing track such as price of rent in big cities. Now, this list may include the number of data breaches in the U.S., according to a recent report.

According to non-profit organization Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and cybersecurity company CyberScout LLC, the number of U.S. data breaches documented through June 30, 2017 reached a “half-year record high of 791,” representing a 29 percent increase compared to 2016 numbers during the same period. The report predicted that at this pace, the total number of data breaches in 2017 may reach a new record of 1,500, which would be a 37 percent increase compared to 2016 when data breaches hit an all-time record of 1,093. The statistics are of publicly reported breaches only. 

“Cyberattacks that target businesses are continuing to rise, as hackers aim to steal the most sensitive personal data and demand payoffs in crippling ransomware attacks,” CyberScout CEO Matt Cullina said.

The report said that hacking—which includes phishing, ransomware, malware, and skimming—was the leading cause of data breaches, accounting for 63 percent of the breaches. The report noted that ransomware and malware were added in the category in 2017. It doesn’t take carefully-crafted reports, however, to notice that hackers have been very busy in 2017.

In particular, ransomware attacks have taken the world by storm in 2017—first with the WannaCry ransomware attack in May and more recently, the Petya ransomware attack in June. Although ransomware may be the weapon of choice for hackers for now, there are other forms of malware that could significantly disrupt online operations. In 2016, millions of consumers lost access to many popular websites as a result of a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack. A DDoS attack is a cyberattack that aims to take control of multiple computers or devices—called botnets—to flood a targeted website with massive amounts of web traffic. 

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