In a shocking incident, the two largest banks in Canada – Simplii Financial and Bank of Montreal – ended up releasing the personal and financial data of thousands of their customers to hackers.
Estimates say that the incident might have affected around 90,000 customers.
The Bank of Montreal, the fourth largest bank in Canada, has confirmed the security breach. Meanwhile, the bank has asked its customers to monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity. According to Reuters, around 50,000 of the 8 million customers of the bank across Canada were hacked.
On the same lines, Simplii Financial, which is a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, revealed that data of around 40,000 of its clients had been compromised. While the investigations are ongoing, the bank claims it has implemented online banking security measures and is monitoring any online fraud rigorously.
Six biggest banks in Canada are reportedly working with the Bank of Canada to boost their defenses against cyber attacks. The Bank of Canada has recently said there is always a risk that some hacking attacks might succeed, but in this case, the banks should have had recovery mechanisms in place to control the damage.
… And Things Like This Happen a Lot
There had been various similar cases in the past too when the confidential data of corporate customers was hacked. There were 115 cyber attacks in January 2018 alone. The data of around 2.9 million patients of Health South-East RHF, a large healthcare organization in southeast Norway, was compromised.
Recently, the Equifax credit agency was attacked by cybercriminals, who exposed the data of around half of the entire population of the US. This security breach was severe, with the names, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers of 145.5 million people exposed. Additionally, the phone numbers of 203 million, genders of around 27.3 million, and email addresses of 1.8 million people were leaked as well.
Another similar incident happened when a 16-year old hacked Apple’s servers, stole some 90GB of secure files, and accessed customer accounts during the whole process.
The teen is a well-known individual in the international hacking community – he had been hiding his identity and hacking the servers of Apple for about a year.
Data Breaches Are at an All-Time High
Here are a few hacking facts that are enough to gauge the gravity of the situation:
- According to the FBI, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks happen globally every day!
- Business Email Compromise (BEC) revealed that cyber scams targeted more than 400 businesses per day in 2017.
- Juniper Research revealed that the average data breach cost would exceed $150 million by 2020!
Data breaches have always been there, and are nothing new. But what worries most cyber experts is the fact that the number is on a steady rise. 2017 was dubbed the year of data breaches, and 2018 is walking the same path too.
Therefore, it is imperative that businesses are more focused on security than ever. They should have a proper plan in place to fight cyber attacks and adopt the latest technological protocols to keep the important data and company safe.
The need of the hour is to involve your employees, educate them and help them play a key role in safeguarding your data. A lot of breaches happen by accident, and the best way a business can keep such data breaches to a minimum is by training its employees on how to encrypt data, teaching them to create strong passwords and helping them in storing the data securely.
Further, it is a good idea to limit your employee’s access to websites that are beyond the scope of their duties. Or better yet, it is suggestable to integrate a Virtual Private Network within the companies network infrastructure.
Creating awareness is the key. It is highly recommended to use the latest encryption protocols and security software.
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