Data breaches and other scary 2019 events- Special Halloween post

It’s that time of the year again, where the ghosts come out of the cupboard and the witches cackle, but it’s also a good time to reflect on what 2019 has brought to us so far. These are the scariest parts of cyber security from 2019 and the scale of how scary they actually are.

We will start off with a post on Gizmodo. The post highlights that in January 2019 there was a collection of information for sale, which totalled 773 million emails and 21 million passwords. This was stated as being the largest collection of breached data ever.

The year has then proceeded to leave no industry unturned. In the Wikipedia list of breaches in 2019 so far, we can see that anything from social networks, to online shopping vendors through to health care and governments have been targeted. The breaches have occurred due to different reasons which really enforce that security on systems is paramount and that if a hacker is determined they will find a way in. The types of breaches listed include (poor security, hacked, inside job, accidental publication, and misconfiguration), all of which can be leveraged to exploit businesses. It’s a scary world and once you start putting information into computers it becomes scarier without the correct protection.


The biggest breach so far was First American Corporations, and that included 885 million records. This was caused by poor security/configuration on one of their websites, that enabled anyone with an internet browser to access records which included information such as bank account numbers, statements, mortgage and tax records etc. Highly personal identifiable information, and the consequences? Well this caused an immediate drop in share prices of about 7% once the news hit, and took around 4-5 months to fully recover.

Now, with the recent introduction of GDPR in 2018. The fines associated, should be enough to put fear into any business, so how have these been applied so far? The rules state that a fine can be up to 20million euros, or up to 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher.


In July 2019, we saw that British Airways was hit with a £183 million fine. This was large, and would have put most companies into serious financial difficulties for a while, but considering the size of British Airways, it will have likely only affected their profit margins for the year.

The reality of it all, is that if the hacker doesn’t break a business into pieces due to the repercussions of being breached/hacked then perhaps the industry regulators may fine it so harshly that it will fail. This is scary! Perhaps next time your business looks at a project, the first thing to ask is going to be “what about the security?”. If you don’t, then next year the company you work for may be on these lists.

Happy Halloween! Hopefully for you, the lights will stay on, and candles wont be needed to read the UPS displays as you run through a night of ghosts and ghouls.

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