Seems like hardly a day goes by without a report of yet another data breach. And that’s because a day doesn’t go by without one. There has been an average of one reported data breach every day for the last five years, and 2014 has no intention of bucking the trend.
According to the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center, there have been 411 reported data breaches in the U.S. in the first six months of this year. That works out to an average of more than two data breaches every day. And those data breaches combined have exposed an estimated 11 million records.
That’s not good news for security, not good news for the organizations that exposed the data, and certainly not good news for the millions of consumers whose personal data was exposed. That’s because a recent report from Javelin Strategy and Research found that 1 in every 3 consumers who receive a notification of a data breach will experience some type of fraud.
And the hackers behind the breaches don’t particularly care who they target. One of the most recent victims was Goodwill, the long-established charity that has helped millions of the less fortunate through its chain of nearly 3,000 stores and drop-off centers across the country.
According to recent reports, credit and debit cards may have been compromised in stores in at least 21 states. And the breach may have first occurred nearly a year ago.
So why target a charity like Goodwill? As usual, it’s about following the money. What many people don’t realize is that Goodwill is a billion dollar organization, racking up sales last year of close to $4 billion. It also receives hundreds of millions of dollars every year in grants and donations, and millions of shoppers visit their stores and website every year.
Those are plenty of reasons to target even a charity that does such important and commendable work. And it’s another warning that hackers will target any type of organization, big or small.
Every data breach hurts every business. They hurt consumer confidence, which is not good for any business. They fuel demand for even more layers of security, which often comes at a price. They can also fuel more legislation and regulation, which can mean even more headaches for business owners. And as more consumers get fed up with the endless legion of breaches, you can expect the costs and penalties to only increase too.
You have no control over what other business owners do. But you have significant control over your own security. Lock down your website and your data so at least hackers can’t exploit one to get to the other.