Did you know that in 2020 there were over 37 billion data records exposed across the globe? Not only does this represent an unacceptable number of data breaches, but each and every data breach that occurs causes a loss of trust in network security measures. But if you thought 2020 was bad, 2021 was even worse!
Ransomware attacks were among the most common type of incidents that occurred in 2021. And they remain the most prevalent type of attack used by hackers. Ransomware attacks generally take advantage of insiders, misconfigured networks and human error. In fact, according to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach report, 85% of all network breaches relied on human error to get inside the network. Of those, 36% involved phishing.
But what were some of the worst data breaches in 2021, and what can we learn from them? Let’s take a closer look at the world of data breaches, and the best way to mitigate them using modern network security techniques.
1. Mimecast Gets Hacked
Mimecast offers cloud cybersecurity services for email, data and web services. This is why it was a big surprise to the network security community when they announced in 2021 that they had suffered a major breach. The problem arose from a compromised digital certificate and was believed to be orchestrated by the same state actors that were behind the SolarWinds attack of late 2020. According to the company, around 10% of their customer base — or more than 60,000 companies — were impacted by the data breach.
2. The Acer Ransomware Hack
In March 2021, electronics manufacturer Acer suffered one of the largest ransomware hacks in history. Acer would end up paying out $50 million to the hackers, who infected encrypted data, shut down critical operations and stole a large amount of sensitive data. Even bank account details were compromised. Sometimes hackers will leverage bank account data to ensure the ransom gets paid. The Acer attack was relatively sophisticated, relying on successful phishing attempts and then the creation of new user accounts and installation of threat actor modelers.
3. Microsoft Exchange Gets Hacked
A Chinese state-sponsored hacking group exploited a zero-day vulnerability within the Microsoft Exchange server to establish a web shell over the server. Once a remote connection was made, the group then exfiltrated the data. While Microsoft quickly released patches, the group (called Hafnium) had already affected nearly 30,000 U.S. companies. To date, they need merely scan the internet to continue finding vulnerable exchange servers.
Are you a company operating in a sensitive space concerned about data theft and ransomware attacks? Give yourself some peace of mind and give us a call: (651) 280-4701