Several major American banks saw hackers take over their websites recently. We’re not talking covert fraud or spying here, but an explicit data security breach disabling official websites. It’s debilitating, it’s devastating-and it’s becoming more prevalent.
American Express and JP Morgan have been the targets of sophisticated strikes that resulted in their websites being disastrously compromised. Even if the effects were only temporary, the fact that hackers were able to accomplish such a significant breach should serve as a major warning to corporations and government officials alike.
A data security breach is always an alarming state of affairs, but this current rash of criminal activity seems to focus more on aggressive tactics than is usually the case. And these data security breaches may be the result of nationally sponsored efforts. According to the New York Times, one group, known as “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters” seems to have come forward in relation to these attacks. The U.S. isn’t the only one to be the subject of such nasty attention: South Korea lost access to thousands of computers last month, and the European web protection group known as Spamhaus has been the target of an attack of staggering proportions.
It is a critical time for those concerned about online security. The amount and intensity of threats in the digital world have never been more apparent. While it’s refreshing that government agencies are taking increased notice of these instances, it will take more than awareness to prevent important information from falling into the hands of outside forces: the fact that these events have occurred so close to each other is not exactly encouraging. For now, it’s worth remembering that a data security breach can have a wide range of effects, and leave your business and your identity in shambles.
John Sileo is a cyber security expert and keynote speaker on data security, privacy and identity theft. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.