Written by: Sia Mehta – Assistant Client Executive, Racepoint Global London
Can we consider ourselves truly advanced when the easiest way to break into a multibillion dollar company is through its passwords?

With AI, VR and ML rapidly on the rise, we’re constantly advancing our technical abilities. As more processes undergo digitalisation, passwords are usually put in place to protect confidential data. However, ironically, businesses are the most vulnerable to data breaches through these very passwords.

The year 2017 saw large scale cyber attacks such as the Dixons Carphone, WannaCry and Talk Talk. Apparently, these weren’t the last attacks.

This year, we found out that 94% of NHS trusts still use handwritten notes to record patient data which led to 10,000 patient records being stolen.

Reddit, one of the world’s biggest social news platforms, was victim to a data breach compromising user information including passwords. The site was hacked through employee accounts that were protected using SMS two-factor authentication.

And even Ticketmaster, the global ticketing site warned its users earlier this year of suspicious activity following a data breach allowing hacker’s access to customer’s bank details.

Let’s not forget Adidas, Superdrug, Under Amour’s MyFitnessPal app, and Forever 21 to name just a few more that have made headlines in reporting major data breaches as well. In fact, Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report highlights that 81% of data breaches are through password exploitation. Perhaps we’re advancing too fast as we can’t even keep our passwords secure, let alone vital patient or consumer data. It is crucial that company does whatever it takes to stop data breaches, which would result in massive financial loss and damages on brand reputation and customer loyalty.

One of the key reasons why businesses are increasingly susceptible to such cyber attacks is that they often do not have the right talents to guard their cyber security. This skills shortage within the cyber sector isn’t a new phenomenon as according to a search on Financial Times the first reference was made back in 2005, over 10 years ago. While there’s a clear lack of governmental initiative in keeping citizens safe on the cyber space, perhaps it’s time for businesses to step up and take responsibility for the digital skills gap.

News round up

IT Pro

The NHS lost almost 10,000 patient records last year

Researchers have revealed almost 10,000 NHS patients records were reported either missing or lost during the last financial year according to a Freedom of Information request carried out by Parliament Street across 68 trusts.

The Guardian

Reddit user data compromised in sophisticated hack

Reddit has suffered a data breach compromising usernames, passwords and email addresses of groups of users, the site has confirmed.

The Guardian

Identity theft warning after major data breach at Ticketmaster

UK customers of Ticketmaster have been warned they could be at risk of fraud or identity theft after the global ticketing group revealed a major data breach that has affected tens of thousands of people.

The Times

Superdrug hack exposes data of up to 20,000 customers

The pharmaceutical chain Superdrug has fallen victim to a hack that may have affected up to 20,000 customers, it said yesterday. Superdrug admitted that customers’ names, addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers may have been accessed.

Computer World UK

Is it time for businesses to take responsibility for the digital skills gap?

Businesses struggle to attract and retail talent as the British government estimates the number of people who don't know "one basic digital skill" at a staggering 11.5 million.