Data leakage has become rampant. For example, back in June of this year there was a leak involving customers of Domino’s Pizza in both Belgium and France, with the details of more than 600,000 involved in the scandal.
While the group, named as the now suspended Twitter-based hacking group @RexMundi_Anon, was unable to get the more than 30,000 Euro ransom they demanded, it shows a growing pattern that has internet users worried.
We do a great deal online. Consumers around the world shop, go to school, communicate and even run banking accounts that are based entirely within the digital world. In a time when we are more reliant on technology than ever, it has become all the more clear that we need better protections in place to keep up.
Unfortunately, hackers are often a step ahead of the corporations who are trying to combat them. Even those who invest in the latest security frontiers will find criminals knocking down the back door before long. Which is why the only real defense we have as users is often knowledge of the attacks the moment news is released.
Of course, this isn’t much of a comfort. It is a common story to find companies withholding information about breaches for months before coming clean about the event. Just look at the massive data breach in late 2013 that happened at Target.
All you can do is keep as up to date as possible, and react when necessary. Here are five tools to help you monitor data breaches that may affect you and your family.
If you prefer to use your Twitter account to be up to date – and many people to do – you can try this US based Twitter account from SC Magazine. It regularly monitors and reports on data breeches from around the world, though mainly within the United States and companies where residents of the United States may have been effected.
There is also a UK version of the same feed, monitoring mostly UK and some EU companies for reports of data leakages. Both accounts also pay close attention to government surveillance and related issues.
Why they chose to use two separate accounts for this is hard to say. Given how globalized business has become in recent years, it isn’t unusual for the same countries to be affected by the same leaks. The US and UK are especially intertwined, given the collaboration between the NSA and GCHQ. Whatever the reason, you may want to follow both.
This is an overall technology publication that handles everything from product and software reviews, to events, to how-to tutorials. But it is their feeds that stand out and will help you to remain informed. They have several available, and you can subscribe to any of them to run different news lists through your reader.
For data leaks you should monitor the Security feed. It will not only give you news stories based on leaks, but on overall technical security that may or may not be of interest to you – including information on how you can protect yourself and your data, from credit cards to personal accounts.
This analysis and IT professional business blog has a number of sections for you to peruse. The data leakage area is only updated when a major breach is announced, and to provide follow ups and information. Thanks to the growing number of leaks and the wider implications of those vulnerabilities, that equals a handful of posts per month.
With both a simple to understand way of explaining the more technical aspects of certain stories, and the fact that they don’t constantly update, this is a good blog to follow for security news. You may also want to check out their full security area, which often has a lot of posts about social media, an issue that many consumers should find crucial to their peace of mind.
For those who are more technically minded, their tutorial section is great. Not only does it cover desktop how-tos, but mobile ones, as well.
This site doesn’t follow every leak. So why are they on this list? Because even if they aren’t super thorough, they do manage to catch a fair number of big ones. And when they do, they present it in a super short package that quickly provides details and a link for further reading if you choose.
Anyone who prefers their information to be bite sized, just to know if they are affected, this is a decent site for it.
They also have an annual Data Leakage Report you can download. They haven’t released 2014, and won’t for several months. But the 2013 report is still relevant, and allows you to see repeat offenders, the biggest leaks and the responses to the incidents. Sometimes how a source handles a data leak in more telling than the break itself.
Past leaks can provide a lot of information about the security of a particular company, website or agency. This is a great list of past information leaks, even if the last posted story was back in 2013. They also have hacking, cyber threat and other boards that include older and more recent stories that are related to the topic.
Don’t be put off by the design of the site itself. It looks outdated and badly done, which tends to eliminate the credibility a bit. But the information provided in the news stories are correct. They lead to third party sources such as the BBC for more information, which helps.
Information security…it is a bigger issue now than it ever was. Threats are not just from criminal masterminds at this point. Small hacking groups are growing, often under the generalized banner of Anonymous. Some are doing it for profit, others just for street cred or amusement. Either way, it shows the growing accessibility of criminal hacking to script kiddies and amateurs.
As that world widens, so do the number of incidents both large and tiny. So you have to be ever vigilant and prepared for anything. Monitoring these five sources will at least help you to stay alert and on top of the most recent breaches. It isn’t much, but it should at least provide some comfort.
Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net