All aboard the breach bandwagon

So today I've been at CloudSec 2016 in London, listening to various security professionals from the likes of Trend Micro and Microsoft talk about the challenges businesses face in securing their data in the cloud.

As you could probably have guessed, talks have centred around the ever-expanding threat landscape, the continued industrialisation of cybercrime through various underground marketplaces around the world and general cyber security trends.

But what's been really catching my attention throughout the day - rather appropriately, seeing as I'm at a security conference - has been the stream of data breach notices and press releases that have been appearing in my inbox.

Today alone, the list consists of: Nearly 100 million records containing usernames, email addresses and passwords being leaked from, one of Russia’s biggest web portals; the hacking of a forum closely related to popular adult website Brazzers, exposing email records, usernames and passwords of 800,000 users and reports of analytics company Hitsniffer falling victim to an insider attack, with a former employee stealing its databases and contacting customers.

None of these are as high-profile as many other breaches that have hit the headlines over the last few months, but still serve as a worrying reminder for businesses in all industries and of all sizes that no-one is safe.

Just think back over the last few weeks and months. Only last week, 68 million Dropbox accounts were leaked online as the result of a hack that took place in 2012. In August, 25 million accounts were left compromised after a hack on Russian internet giant and an estimated 280 UK businesses were exposed by what appeared to be an insider attack at accounting and payroll software provider Sage. Before that it was Yahoo in the news after a hacker claimed to have uploaded the details of 200 million accounts to an underground marketplace. The list goes on and on.

Then there are the recent security reports, most of which present sobering statistics. Huntsman Security revealed that the number of data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) rose by 88 per cent between April 2015 and March 2016 compared to the previous year and it has been predicted that hackers have cost the UK economy £147 billion in the last year alone.

When you look at all this information in one go it's hard to envisage a solution. The momentum behind hackers and cyber criminals seems to be growing rather than slowing down, making the already-upward battle for legitimate businesses steeper than ever.

The industry, along with government bodies, is certainly taking the fight to the bad guys, but for now, we're coming off second best.

 Image source: Shutterstock/igor.stevanovic