At a time when it seems 95% of all news stories centre on the Covid-19 pandemic, data privacy and protection events are in abundance, as numbers of cyber-crime cases break through the stratosphere.

During the past week alone, there have been several serious occurences of cyber-attacks, data breaches and online fraud — and these are just the ‘big’ stories among countless catastrophic privacy-related events that didn’t make it onto the major news sites.

No-one is impervious to a cyber-attack. During the last two years alone we have read stories of the devastation left by online criminals, as vast amounts of personal data have been unlawfully accessed and stolen.

Victims include large multi-national corporations down to small family-run businesses, governments, hospitals, universities and even ‘Joe Soap’ innocently surfing the net. Make no mistake. No-one is safe.

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a whole new way of life, as we don our face masks, relentlessly wash our hands, and generally take greater care when venturing outside. For the majority, a higher level of vigilance has become essential to avoid this unseen enemy, which attacks human beings so indiscriminately.

But, not wishing to draw too close a comparison with Covid-19, which has the power to destroy peoples’ lives, I must admit to viewing cyber-attacks orchestrated by criminals as another type of virus — one which businesses and organizations need to protect against with strong security measures and strict adherence to privacy protection practices.

Achieving compliance with global data privacy regulations should begin with a detailed examination of our current data management processes. This enables any shortcomings and vulnerabilities to be identified and mitigated, to form not only a strong set of operational practices, but also to invoke a solid commitment to following appropriate practices designed to safeguard individuals’ personal data.

Privacy matters. And whether that privacy is breached as a result of a clever cyber-attack, or simply through a failure to implement sufficiently robust data security measures, the buck stops here! At the end of the day there is very little room for excuses.

Judging by the numerous data privacy news stories of the past two years, unlike a ‘cure’ for Covid-19, I struggle to see a time when some kind of digital ‘vaccine’ will be developed, making data breaches a thing of the past.

So, in the meantime, it would be pertinent to learn from the many tales of woe, of unsuspecting victims who have faced the cost of painful fines and embarrassing reputational damage. — Ed.

One-in-five adult internet users reported that they had experienced cyber fraud or computer misuse, according to a new report from Scottish Crime and Justice.

Although most victims reported no personal impact, they changed their online behaviours as a result.

The most common problem encountered was having a device infected by a virus. Other common types of cyber fraud were having someone access online accounts for fraudulent purposes.

Having card or bank account details stolen online was also among the most common computer misuse.

About 4.5% of internet users said they had been a victim of a scam email.

Source & full story: BBC News

Amazon has reported that it has thwarted the largest DDoS attack in history, on its online cloud, which provides the infrastructure on which many websites rely.

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is designed to make a website inaccessible by flooding it with massive amounts of requests until it eventually crashes.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) said the February attack had fired 2.3Tbps. This is almost half of all traffic BT sees on its entire UK network during a normal working day.

The previous record, set in 2018, was 1.7Tbps.

Warning that the event was “enormous” compared with the previous all-time high, Lisa Forte, from Red Goat Cyber Security said:

This is huge news for people in the industry,” “It is like comparing a moped to a super-car, …They are totally different beasts. These are outliers. But as always with cyber-threats, we are in an arms race against attackers every day. This will definitely be an alarming revelation to many and could be a warning that we should not ignore.

Source & full story: BBC News

Australia’s government and institutions are being targeted by ongoing sophisticated state-based cyber hacks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

Mr Morrison said the cyber attacks were widespread, covering “all levels of government” as well as essential services and businesses.

He declined to identify a specific state actor and said no major personal data breaches had been made.

The attacks have happened over many months and are increasing, he said.

The prime minister said his announcement on Friday was intended to raise public awareness and to urge businesses to improve their defences.

But he stressed that “malicious” activity was also being seen globally, making it not unique to Australia.

Source & full story: Evening Standard

U.S. federal and state authorities are working to require Google Inc. to give consumers alternatives for search engines.

Gabriel Weinberg, founder and chief executive officer at DuckDuckGo, says people don’t want to be tracked online. The company says its search engine blocks ads from following users. Weinberg speaks on “Bloomberg Technology.”

Source & Video: Bloomberg

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