The major objective of many cyber attacks on websites and databases isn’t compromise of your technology at all. It’s the private information you’ve stored on your customers, clients or anyone else with whom you’ve ever done business.
That point was again made recently with news that three giant data collectors –Dun & Bradstreet, Hire Right/Krebs and NexisLexis — had been hacked.
The objective: Social security numbers, birth records and credit and background reports on millions of Americans.
Access to this information was later sold on a website for 50 cents to $2.50 per record or $5 to $15 per credit or background check, reports KrebsOnSecurity. The security news website broke the story after a seven-month investigation drawing coverage from national media and investigation by law enforcement.
Your Customers Could Also Be Targets
Of course, you don’t need to be a giant data aggregator to be targeted by hackers working to steal customer or client information.
For example, smaller firms (250 employees or less) were the targets of 31 percent of all cyber attacks in 2012, up 18 percent over the previous year.
Again, the targets of these attacks were often not the companies themselves but any information obtained from customers, in many cases during an online transaction.
Information Companies Are at Risk
All three targets in the recent cyber attack were in the information business, reports KrebsOnSecurity.
For example, LexisNexis has the world’s largest database of legal and public records. Meanwhile Dun & Bradstreet collects and licenses information on businesses and corporations. And Hire Right/Kroll provides background checks, drug and health screening of employees.
What the companies all have in common is the collection of a huge amount of data.
Do you collect customer data in online transactions? Do you use it to create your email list or add it to your customer relationship management software?
If so, then your business could be a target for cyber criminals seeking private information on the people with whom you do business.
Hacked Photo via Shutterstock