Monday, February 8, 2016

If Time Warner Cable and Comcast Can Get Hacked, Then We All Can

The number of high-profile hacks that have occurred over the past several years continues to climb, and it won’t let up anytime soon. Now, another incident involving Time Warner Cable, a large ISP in the United States, shows that even large companies that deal with sensitive information aren’t invincible from data breaches.
The breach, which happened on January 7, 2016, is estimated to have leaked up to 320,000 Time Warner Cable customers’ email addresses and passwords. Time Warner Cable was informed of the data breach by the FBI, and the cable company proceeded to explain the situation to their customers through both email and direct mail. Users were advised to change their passwords for good measure, but Time Warner Cable continues to deny that their systems exhibited signs of a data breach.
This isn’t the first time that a major ISP has had information breached or stolen by scammers. In November 2015, Comcast dealt with a breach of nearly 200,000 customer credentials, which were found on the black market. This prompted Comcast to reset the passwords. Even though this incident was blamed on phishing attacks that suggested users should hand over their credentials, what happened with Time Warner Cable is up for debate.
Time Warner Cable is under the assumption that the theft was potentially caused by phishing attempts directed at the company, or the result of a data breach of other companies that store Time Warner Cable’s customer information. Regardless of why or how the data was stolen, the fact remains that Time Warner Cable has lost face with their clientele--something that every business owner needs to take into account when dealing with sensitive client credentials.
It ultimately falls on your shoulders to ensure that your business doesn’t face a similar catastrophe, in which your clients’ personal information is leaked or stolen. The most dangerous part of losing track of your organization’s data is the fact that it can lead to immense financial issues. Businesses that fail to recover their data following a critical data loss incident typically go out of business within one year following the incident. Add in the compliance fines, and you have a situation that can quickly escalate beyond your control, breaking your budget and grinding operations to a halt. This is why it’s so effective to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.
Time Warner Cable suggested that their clients change their passwords, which is actually sound advice, regardless of whether or not you’ve been hacked. If you’re still using default passwords, or haven’t changed yours in several months, you could stand to change your password to something more secure. Your passwords should be long and complex, utilizing several different upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. This makes it much harder for a hacker to crack your account through brute force.
Password managers are great tools to help you keep track of complex passwords, without the pain of remembering different strings of characters for each of your accounts. A password manager stores all of your company’s credentials in a secure location, and calls them only when needed. This makes a password manager an invaluable tool for maximizing your password security.
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