Throughout the United States systems are targeted with everything from pranks to highly costly data breaches. From the individual to the hospital, the frequency of these crimes seems to be increasing with each passing day. The defense industry is not immune to these breaches and as security solutions employed come mainly from the commercial sector, the breaches will continue.
In today’s defense sector the federal systems employed are like those used throughout the medical and financial industries and it should not be a surprise that they are being attacked constantly by foreign governments in the hopes of finding their vulnerabilities. Although the following numbers are gleaned from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and do not break out of the defense sector, they should open our eyes to just how vulnerable we are. These numbers don’t address the porous connected battlefield, but they show how our advisories might use similar skills to learn how to penetrate or spoof our defenses.
It is no surprise that California is the State with the greatest financial losses from these breaches. The losses between 2017 and 2021 exceed $3.5 billion and were comprised of over 325,000 victims. The most expensive type of data breach is having your email compromised with financial losses in this area exceeding $7.5 billion. Denial of services or ransomware although the most feared, the costliest to Americans are phishing scams.
These have become very sophisticated in recent years by reaching out to a broad array of individuals claiming to be an institution that might entice the reader to click on a false hyperlink and either enter confidential information or turn over control of their system to the scam artist.
This type of crime takes advantage of the human as the weakest link in the chain. It is very difficult to employ technologies when it is human nature to trust that the bank or the hospital logos are legitimate. But employing multiple authentication methods continues to challenge even the most creative criminals. This type of human exposure to data breaches is based on an error in judgment. And can happen to anyone at any time.
The following list indicates the 10 most affected States by data breaches.
- California $3,738,488,140
- Texas $1,820,823,734
- New York $1,775,479,307
- Florida $1,723,041,371
- Ohio $776,895,836
- Illinois $676,683,650
- New Jersey $670,049,038
- Pennsylvania $617,680,596
- Virginia $535,893,196
- Massachusetts $526,212,719
The frequency and impact of the different types of data breaches convey a menu to the criminal element. The costliest according to the Forbes Advisor is attacks on your email and according to the same report, the most frequent is non-payment/non-delivery. Confidence and Romance Fraud has resulted in over $2.3 billion of losses and targets people mostly by adopting a false identity to gain the trust of the victim. This ranks number two as the costliest to its victims.
When we hear victims’ stories where they sent cash through the mail or acted on a false email to send out gift certificates to the entire company, we tend to believe that we would never fall prey to a scam that is so obvious. The perpetrators of this type of theft have tapped into your life, they may know that your home is for sale or that your primary bank is Bank of America. They may know that you recently experienced a loss of some type that makes you more vulnerable. The ability to exploit these types of real-world needs might catch you when you least expect it during what would otherwise be a routine transaction.
Federal Systems across this country are controlled by fallible humans. They contain and are connected to sensitive data that represents Billions of dollars worth of IP as well as defense strategies. Although not operational systems on the battlefield, the havoc that breaches can cause is far and wide. So be careful out there and make sure that you take all the precautions you can to stay safe.