The Top 5 Data Breaches of 2021 and How to Avoid Them

Many people started 2021 with mixed feelings, fears, and uncertainties, but as the year progresses, it’s becoming more hopeful as covid-19 gets into control. However, cybersecurity attacks remain a significant concern not only to big corporations but to anyone who has an online presence.

Malware injections, phishing, ransomware, breaches, and identity theft are some of the most common cybersecurity issues organizations face globally. Here are there most notable data breaches of the first quarter of 2021 and a look at how to prevent future attacks

Microsoft Exchange Attack

Cyber attackers targeted four security flaws on email software servers at the Microsoft Exchange at the beginning of 2021. Cybercriminals used bugs on the servers to access email account details of more than 30,000 organizations across the USA and 7,000 in the UK. 

Additionally, servers hosting big global organizations such as the European Banking Authority, the Czech government, the Norwegian Parliament, and Chile’s Commission for the financial markets were also under attack. During the attack, cybercriminals accessed sensitive information, including active directories and internal controls of the organizations.

In March 2021, Microsoft introduced patches to the servers, which protected networks from future attacks, but little was done to mitigate current damages. To avoid such an attack in the future, make sure you have the security patches in place but most importantly, talk to an experienced security firm such as an IT company in Lexington.

The Oxford University College 19 Lab

The structural biology department at the Oxford University, one of the most distinguished biology labs worldwide, was attacked by cybercriminals. Although no damage was reported, the breach affected the internal lab systems used for Covid 19 research. In addition, the attackers accessed biochemical samples and information that could lead to vandalization of intellectual property and research findings.

To avoid unauthorized entry, organizations must employ measures that restrict access to critical areas such as internal systems. In addition, multiple stages of authentication processes must be in place.

Walmart Data Breach

Walmart experienced theft of PII data from its pharmacy patients records at one of its data storage suppliers. The stolen information included patients’ names, health insurance details, prescription details, medical information, phone numbers, date of birth details, and physical addresses.

To prevent repeat identity theft and data breaches, systems and individuals need continuous authentication and authorization every time they access internal systems. There should be several levels of identification or authorization which every device and individual should pass through before gaining access to the company’s apps and assets.

California State Controller’s Office Cyber Attack

The California state controller’s office handles over $100 billion in public funds annually, and this year it was a victim of a phishing attack. This occurred when an employee clicked a suspicious link which granted the attacker access to the email account. 

Mimecast Data Breach

Mimecast experienced a data breach when cybercriminals compromised a certificate that authenticates its products. Some of its customers used the compromised connection, exposing their data.

For organizations to prevent future attacks, cybersecurity systems should be in place to avoid malicious damage even when attackers get company information. In addition, there should be authentication strategies that block access to sensitive information.

The most important strategy is to analyze every possible way attackers gain entry to company data and prevent access by employing up-to-date and recommended security measures.