One of the most publicized data breaches in 2015 happened in July, when Ashley Madison, a website that promotes extramarital affairs, was hacked. Following the data breach, the group responsible for the attack copied personal information about Ashley Madison’s user base and published the information in the dark web for anyone to see.
Ashley Madison is a website famed for its promotion of extramarital affairs. The website earns profit in a number of ways, including account upgrades to unlock several perks, and ironically – account deletion for users who want to remove any traces of their infidelity. The entire structure is based on the promise of anonymity, and with the leak comes a revelation that vulnerabilities exist everywhere.
The group responsible for the attack, The Impact Team, claims that they have warned the makers of Ashley Madison to cease operations or the data will be released to the public. The group followed through on their threats and sure enough, in July 2015, over 60 gigabytes of data were made public, including the names, addresses, emails, and credit card information of all registered users of Ashley Madison.
The data breach shut down Ashley Madison and spawned reports of extortionists targeting people involved with Ashley Madison. Reports of suicide related to Ashley Madison surfaced, and soon enough, the Ashley Madison hack reached international news outlets.
What it means for your business
It’s no surprise that Ashley Madison became a target for hacktivism, citing its unscrupulous means of generating profit. The data breach, however, means that even secure systems have vulnerabilities that can be used by certain individuals to pursue their own goals.
In the case of the Ashley Madison hack, experts speculated that it was the cause of an internal data breach more than anything else. Leaks coming from inside sources are not that uncommon, and it would only take one person to gain access and leak data to run a business to the ground.
Increased threat for SMEs
Small to medium enterprises are more at-risk than big corporations against cyber threats due to the lack of focus on cyber security. Many SMEs do not take the threat of cyber-attacks seriously, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches. According to studies, criminals prefer to attack SMEs than big corporations given the apparent lack of cyber security protocols.
Both SMEs and big corporations store sensitive customer data, and both are at-risk for attacks that may compromise the personal information of their customers. SMEs stand to lose more than big companies in the event of a cyber-attack. In the past couple of years, the collective losses sustained by SMEs are nowhere near the total damage sustained by big corporations from similar attacks.
Protect your business against external and internal threats. Alvarez Technology Group, Inc. helps enterprises establish a secure platform that prevents external attacks, and an internal system that manages user access. Contact us today at (831) 753-7677 or send us an email at email@example.com to get in touch with an IT security expert.