cybersecurity breaches in 2021 and best practices

With the pandemic driving us to remote work, 2021 has seen no end to cybersecurity breaches. Businesses are more targeted than ever before. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported a 17% increase in data breaches from 2020 to 2021.

Cybersecurity threats like ransomware and identity theft loom over businesses every day. It’s imperative to educate yourself and your employees on the best practices of technology use.

Major Cybersecurity Breaches in 2021

Dating Site Breach: MeetMindful

More than two million users had their data stolen when MeetMindful, a dating app, was hacked in January 2021. Users’ information was reportedly stolen and leaked by a hacking group. The information stolen included full names and Facebook information.

Government Breach: Automatic Funds Transfer Services (ATFS)

A ransomware attack launched against the payment processor, ATFS, forced cities in California and Washington to send out data breach notifications. The hacking group responsible, Cuba Ransomware, gained access to financial information through respected organizations with sensitive data, like municipalities across Washington and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Motor Vehicle Industry Breach: Audi and Volkswagen

Audi and Volkswagen disclosed a data breach affecting more than 3.3 million customers in the U.S. alone. They suspect the breach was caused by a vendor who exposed their data, including personal details like email and home address and corresponding vehicle information for customers. 

Telecommunications Breach: T-Mobile

The names, addresses, social security numbers, and driver’s licenses of 50 million T-Mobile customers were leaked. Overall, the hacker claims he stole 106 GB worth of information. The cybercriminal, a 21 year old named John Binns, came forward, saying he gained access to over 100 T-Mobile servers. 

Tech Industry Breach: Panasonic

A cyberattack from June to November of 2021 compromised Panasonic’s data. Panasonic admitted their data was accessed from a file server but is still working with a third party to determine the nature of the information stolen. 

Cybersecurity Best Practices

It’s clear that cybersecurity threats are ubiquitous across industries, company sizes, and countries. 

As cybersecurity threats loom over businesses daily, the best thing to do is educate yourself and your employees on the best practices for technology security. Your employees are a crucial line of defense in your security infrastructure—empowering them with the tools and knowledge to guard your company data is imperative to fighting off cybersecurity threats. 

Here are the first steps you should take to protect yourself and your business.

Use Unique Passwords

Never use the same password twice—especially for sensitive websites. Make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a password manager to keep your passwords safe.

Update Your Software Regularly

Make sure you’re updating all software every time you’re prompted. You can set up automatic updates for most software that you use. The latest versions include security updates and patches to protect your data. 

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) will protect all of your internet traffic. Never use a public WiFi network when conducting company business online. A VPN encrypts your online activity and makes it harder to track your behaviors, so ask your IT provider for a list of trusted VPNs they recommend.

Protect Your Devices

Make sure to use two-factor authentication and install antivirus software on all of your devices. If you travel for work or log in to different devices frequently, make sure you are the only one who can access your information. It may seem inconvenient, but two-factor authentication is effective and can keep you safe.

Know Your Employees’ Security Weaknesses

Your employees’ cybersecurity behaviors affect your business. Educate your staff on cybersecurity best practices. That way, everyone in the office is on the same page, and you can work to protect your company from cybersecurity breaches.

Leave IT to the Professionals

The best way to keep your business safe is to hire professionals for your IT. Axiom can keep your data safe and educate you and your employees about implementing the best cybersecurity practices for your business.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business near Jacksonville, Florida, contact us to learn more about keeping your business safe.