Fortnite is one of the most popular battle royale games on the market. People of all ages play the game to work their way towards the center of the map. However, there is one thing about Fortnite, and other games, that many gamers are not aware of: the massive amounts of gaming data that is collected and stolen.

Every week the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) looks at the most interesting data compromises from the previous week, as well as what happens behind the scenes when someone attacks a company and steals personal or business information in our Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast. This week, we are taking a look at Fortnite in an episode titled “Let the Games Begin!”

The Financial Dominance of the Gaming Industry

What industry made more money in 2019? Video games or movies? The answer will probably surprise most people. Video games generate more revenue each year than movies and music combined. Despite Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame setting a new global box office record in 2019 at $2.7 billion in ticket sales, the film industry’s $42 billion pales in comparison to the more than $150 billion in video game revenue in 2019. The top video game of 2019, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, racked up $1 billion in sales in the last two months of 2019 alone. Call of Duty is still the number one video game in terms of sales nearly a year later.

Data Risk

One of the reasons the game remains so popular is the same reason why video games represent a significant data risk: someone can play Call of Duty online for free and make in-game purchases. When someone goes to the movies, they don’t give away personal information to buy their ticket. However, when someone wants to play video games online, they have to share lots of data.

The Impacts on Fortnite

Nearly 2.7 billion people play video games, and at least 500 million of them play games online; 350 million just play Fortnite. While the online battle game is free to play, Fortnite makers gross $2.4 billion a year in in-game purchases. It’s what attracts data thieves; the combination of player gaming data and people willing to spend lots of money.

Research published by Night Lion Security calculates more than two billion online video game player profiles have been breached in 2020 based on the number sold, or for sale, in underground online forums. It adds up to roughly $1 billion in illicit gaming data sales each year. Of those, Fornite player account information is the most valuable at approximately $600 million per year.

Why? It’s not just personal information being stolen. Instead, its profile gaming data, including game achievements and player personas known as “skins.” With the right skin, a user can become an elite level player without having to play Fortnite or defeat hundreds of players to get to the top of the heap.

Night Lion notes that one highly prized skin commands as much as $2,500 on the black market. Between reselling elite and average player accounts, data thieves who specialize in Fortnite skins earn an average of $25,000 per week, nearly $1.3 million per year.

How Do Data Thieves Do It?

Cybercriminals use automated tools that compare login and password information from past data breaches to active Fornite accounts, at a rate of almost 500 accounts per second. To cover their tracks, the data thieves use masking tools that go for as little as $15 on the dark web.

What You Need to Do

The best security tools in the world cannot help protect gaming data if players use the same logins and passwords on more than one game account.

  • If you or a family member plays a popular video game, including Fortnite, make sure the game credentials are unique for each game
  • Also, create a unique passphrase and set up two-factor authentication to prevent misuse of your player profile and personal information

If you do not, it could be game over.

notifiedTM

For more information about the latest data breaches, consumers and businesses should visit the ITRC’s new data breach tracking tool, notified. It is updated daily and free to consumers. Organizations that need comprehensive breach information for business planning or due diligence can access as many as 90 data points through one of the three paid notified subscriptions. Subscriptions help ensure the ITRC’s identity crime services stay free.

Contact ITRC

If you believe you are the victim of an identity crime, or your identity has been compromised in a data breach, you can speak with an ITRC expert advisor on the website via live-chat, or by calling toll-free at 888.400.5530. Finally, victims of a data breach can download the free ID Theft Help app to access advisors, resources, a case log and much more.

Join us on our weekly data breach podcast to get the latest perspectives on the last week in breaches. Subscribe to get it delivered on your preferred podcast platform.


Read more of our latest articles below

There are different types of data breaches, but they all have frustrating, as well as potentially devastating impacts. On this week’s Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast, we are taking a look at the difference between a data breach that exposes consumer information and a data breach that reveals a company’s intellectual property or trade secrets; companies attacked by ransomware that do both is on the rise.

A Tale of Two Breaches

The current digital age can be viewed as the best of times and the worst of times, especially when it comes to data use, privacy and security. While many consumers enjoy unprecedented levels of convenience and prosperity, thanks to technology, there are also significant pitfalls. Despite billions of dollars in cybersecurity investments, personal and corporate information is exposed daily due to malicious and accidental events.

While many people view data breaches as personal information being stolen from companies about individuals, it is becoming more common for threat actors to target more than consumer data. Instead, many hackers are looking to get their hands on company secrets by landing a successful ransomware attack, leading to the company’s intellectual property being breached.

By August 15, more than 25 Fortune 500 companies were attacked by ransomware, where company intellectual property was at risk.

Nintendo

In July, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) posted about an attack on Nintendo, who refused to pay the data kidnappers’ ransom demands. As a result, the data thieves posted massive amounts of proprietary data on the internet, including game prototypes. At the time of the attack, it was believed to be a one-off. However, within days, two more global organizations found their company data being posted on the web for everyone to see after refusing to pay ransomware demands.

LG

Electronics and appliance manufacturer, LG, found source code for their mobile phones and laptops posted on a ransomware site. The ransomware group, Maze, released a statement that said they did not want to disrupt LG’s customers as part of the company’s data breach, so they opted to release the stolen intellectual property publicly rather than shut down LG’s systems.

Xerox

At Xerox, a digital document product company, information was released after the company refused to pay a ransom demand that involved customer service systems, but not customer information.

Carnival Cruise Lines & Jack Daniels

Just last week, household names like Carnival Cruise Lines and the makers of Jack Daniels Whiskey joined the list. In the case of Jack Daniels, the company claimed the attack was blocked. However, the attackers claim they were successful and threatened to release the data they stole.

Why the sudden increase in companies attacked by ransomware?

While there are multiple reasons why a company might fall prey to a ransomware attack, the new variable in the equation is people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey released this week by the security firm Malwarebytes indicates that companies are seeing more attempted, and successful, attacks aimed at exploiting the weaker security that is usually associated with remote workers.

The research spotlights why there is an increase in companies attacked by ransomware:

  • 20 percent of respondents have faced a security breach as a result of a remote worker
  • 24 percent have spent unbudgeted money to resolve a security breach or malware attack
  • 28 percent admit to using personal devices for work more than their company devices, which could open the door to cyberattacks
  • 18 percent say cybersecurity is not just a priority for their employees

If employees are working from home or managing a team of remote workers, they should make sure they are following best practices for protecting their personal information and company data. Anyone needing more information about how to protect their work information should ask their company’s IT security team or contact the ITRC for tips on how to protect their personal information.

notifiedTM

For more information about the latest data breaches, consumers and businesses should visit the ITRC’s new data breach tracking tool, notified.  It is updated daily and free to consumers. Organizations that need comprehensive breach information for business planning or due diligence can access as many as 90 data points through one of the three paid notified subscriptions. Subscriptions help ensure the ITRC’s identity crime services stay free.

If someone believes they are the victim of an identity crime, or their identity has been compromised in a data breach, they can speak with an ITRC expert advisor on the website via livechat, or by calling toll-free at 888.400.5530. Finally, victims of a data breach can download the free ID Theft Help app to access advisors, resources, a case log and much more.

Join us on our weekly data breach podcast to get the latest perspectives on the last week in breaches. Subscribe to get it delivered on your preferred podcast platform.


Read more of our latest news below

Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

Updated as of 3/1/2021- The recent social-good relationship management software data breach has nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, healthcare organizations and others left to figure out what to do next. Blackbaud, a cloud software company, used primarily by nonprofits, announced that they were the victim of a ransomware attack. Also, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Blackbaud acknowledges that a ransomware attack in May that affected its clients could have exposed much more personally identifiable information (PII) – including banking details – than the company initially believed. The number of people affected is still unknown, and more information needs to be gathered to judge the attack’s actual scope.

However, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has tracked 536 organizations and close to 13 million people affected. Anyone who engages with organizations that utilize Blackbaud could be at risk of scams, social engineering and more.

What Happened

In May 2020, a ransomware attack was partially thwarted. However, the perpetrator copied a subset of data before being locked out. The hackers then offered to delete the data for an undisclosed amount of money. According to Blackbaud, they paid the ransom and received confirmation that the copy they removed had been destroyed. However, the confirmation was not detailed. Blackbaud says they have no reason to believe that any data went beyond the cybercriminal, was or will be misused.

The information exposed in the breach includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, personal health information (PHI), financial information, credit card information, telephone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, mailing addresses, phone numbers, student I.D. numbers, biographical information, donation dates, donation amounts and other donor profile information. Blackbaud is calling the incident a security incident.

How it Can Impact You

Consumers impacted by the Blackbaud data breach could be at risk of scams (particularly giving and donation scams) and social engineering tactics. Multiple sectors were also impacted by the attack.

Healthcare Sector

Healthcare organizations all over the world use Blackbaud as their cloud software company. According to Blackbaud, 30 of the top 32 largest nonprofit hospitals are powered by their solutions. The ITRC has seen multiple data breach notices from healthcare organizations affected by the Blackbaud data breach. Since the breach impacted donors primarily, it could mean those individuals may be more susceptible to being targeted by fraudsters in the future.

Education Sector

Blackbaud plays a significant role in the education sector. They offer school management software to K-12 schools, as well as universities. Some of the management software includes student information, learning management, enrollment management and school websites. Many schools and districts have acknowledged they were impacted by the Blackbaud data breach. Most of the information involved includes donor information, alumni information, student I.D. numbers and student demographic information.

Nonprofit/NGO Sector

Blackbaud is a service that is primarily by nonprofits. Blackbaud offers an array of software services that cater to nonprofits worldwide, but are best known for their customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Many nonprofits use these to nurture their donors and fundraising. The range of types of nonprofits affected by the attack is vast. In fact, some Blackbaud nonprofits continue to come forward about whether or not they may have been impacted. Now, many nonprofits are trying to figure out their next steps for how to securely manage their CRM needs.  

What You Need to Do

The Blackbaud data breach and its impacts on businesses and consumers are specific to each affected entity and customer. Blackbaud has said that it notified its affected customers of the breach, and those customers should be notifying their impacted individuals. Depending on what information was exposed, the steps for those affected individuals could vary. Anyone who receives a notification letter regarding the Blackbaud data breach should not dismiss the letter and take the notice’s recommended steps.

For entities where sensitive PII was not exposed, the biggest threat is social engineering. Employees of the nonprofit organizations impacted by the breach may receive emails that look like they are from an executive, in an attempt at spear phishing. Donors and members of the nonprofit organizations impacted by the Blackbaud data breach may receive messages asking to provide their PII to update their contact or financial information, either directly through the email or through a link that does not actually belong to the nonprofit they are affiliated with. If an employee comes across an email they find suspicious, they should go directly back to the person it claimed to come from and verify the validity of the message if it is internal. If it is someone claiming to be from outside the organization, it should be run by their manager, IT services, or someone familiar with the relationship. More steps may have to be taken for entities where sensitive PII was exposed.

Anyone who believes they were impacted by the Blackbaud data breach can call the ITRC toll-free at 888.400.5530. They can also live-chat with an expert advisor. Another option is the free ID Theft Help app. The app has resources for victims, a case log, access to an advisor and much more.


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Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

Dating back to 2016, data exposures for one financial service company has led to over 14 million customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) left unprotected. A recent Morgan Stanley data compromise exposed names, account numbers, Social Security numbers, passport numbers, contact information, birth dates and asset value and holdings data. If bad actors were able to access any of this PII, customers could be at risk of multiple types of identity theft.

What Happened

According to the California Attorney General notice, the first Morgan Stanley data compromise dates back to 2016, when the company closed two data centers and decommissioned the computer equipment in both locations. Morgan Stanley says they contracted a vendor to remove the data from the devices. However, some devices were left with some unencrypted data. In the 2019 data incident, the second Morgan Stanley data compromise, Morgan Stanley disconnected and replaced a computer server in a local branch office, which had encrypted disks that could have included PII. However, the company could not locate that device during a recent inventory. The Attorney General’s notification says the manufacturer later informed Morgan Stanley of a software flaw that could have resulted in previously deleted data remaining on the disks in unencrypted form.

What Does This Mean for You?

If a fraudster can get a hold of the exposed PII, they could sign up for lines of credit (for credit cards, utilities, cell phones, etc.) They could also file for benefits in the victim’s name like taxes, state benefits, unemployment and much more.

Next Steps to Take

Right now, Morgan Stanley says no unusual activity has been spotted. However, the company is encouraging everyone who could be affected to enroll in free Identity Restoration Services through Morgan Stanley. Other tips for victims of the Morgan Stanley data compromise include:

The Morgan Stanley data compromise also serves as a reminder that all businesses, regardless of size, need to be extra diligent when decommissioning old equipment. If it is not done correctly, many of their customers, vendors and other stakeholders could be negatively impacted.

Victims of the Morgan Stanley data compromise can also call the Identity Theft Resource Center toll-free at 888.400.5530 to speak with an expert advisor about a resolution process and ways to keep their PII safe. Live-chat with an advisor on the ITRC’s website. Finally, affected individuals can download the free ID Theft Help app to get direct access to advisors, track the steps in managing their breach case, helpful resources and much more.


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Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

A recent data breach of Dave, an online banking service, has users of the service searching for answers. Hackers often target digital banking services for their plethora of consumer records. In 2018, hackers leaked the information of 2.8 billion consumer data records, costing $654 billion in damages to U.S. organizations. Additionally, since the start of COVID-19, there has been a 50 percent increase in mobile banking. Dave is a fintech company that allows users to link their bank accounts and loan payments for upcoming bills to avoid overdraft fees. The Dave.com data breach occurred after the company’s third-party service provider, Waydev, was breached, allowing hackers access to over seven million users’ data.

What Happened

Dave suffered an attack, resulting in 7,516,625 user records being published on RAID, a hacker forum. Some of the information that was exposed from the Dave.com data breach included names, emails, birth dates, physical addresses, phone numbers, encrypted Social Security numbers and Bcrypt hashed passwords. The company uncovered the hacker’s access point into the database and has since notified customers of the exposure. After becoming aware of the incident, Dave enlisted law enforcement and the FBI to conduct an ongoing investigation, according to ZDNet.

What Does This Mean for You?

While there is no evidence that hackers have used the data from the Dave.com data breach to gain access to accounts or conduct any unlawful actions, there is still a lot of harm that could potentially be done. One threat is social engineering, where someone manipulates someone else into divulging personal information. Since multiple forms of information were exposed, there is an even higher and potentially more harmful risk for those impacted.

While the threat level is not as high as social engineering, hackers could also target victims with mail-forwarding and sign up for accounts with the victim’s information.

Next Steps to Take

Affected users of Dave should consider taking immediate action to minimize the risks of identity theft. Some important next steps include:

  • Change the usernames and passwords on any accounts that share a username and password with their Dave.com account – opt for a stronger, unique passphrase
  • Look out for account sign-ups and websites which they are not familiar
  • Avoid clicking on any links or opening any attachments in messages they are not expecting or giving out personal information on the phone. Instead, users should reach out directly to verify the validity of the message.

Anyone affected by the Dave.com data breach can call the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) toll-free at 888.400.5530 for more information on the next steps they need to take. They can also live-chat with an expert advisor. Finally, victims should consider downloading the free ID Theft Help app for access to resources, a case log to track their activities in managing their data breach case and much more.

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Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

Significant and negatively impactful data breaches in the healthcare industry have happened for a long time. Back in 2015, Anthem suffered a massive data breach that led to as many as 80 million people having their information stolen. In 2019, third-party billings and collection agency, American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), suffered a data breach that affected over 24 million people and 20 healthcare entities. That included Quest Diagnostics, who had 11.9 million patients impacted. More recent healthcare data breaches include Florida Orthopaedic Institute, University of Utah Health and PaperlessPay.

What Does it Mean to You?

Data breaches in the healthcare industry continue to happen because of the availability of both personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI) available to bad actors. Hackers can do a lot of damage with access to sensitive PHI and PII, like Social Security numbers, health insurance numbers, drivers licenses or identification numbers, medication lists, conditions, diagnoses and financial information. Fraudsters can submit use this data to file fraudulent health insurance claims, apply for medical care and prescription medications, use the information on billing and much more.

According to the Protenus 2020 Breach Barometer, in 2019,  data breaches in the healthcare industry continued to be a problem, involving sensitive patient information, with public reports of hacking jumping 48.6 percent from 2018. The 2020 IBM Report on the average cost of a data breach reported that the most expensive attacks in 2019 occurred in the healthcare sector. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) 2019 Data Breach Report, there were 525 medical and healthcare data breaches in 2019, exposing over 39 million sensitive records. The medical and healthcare sector had the second-highest number of breaches and sensitive records exposed of all the sectors the ITRC tracks.

What Can You Do?

Data breaches in the healthcare industry will continue to happen because of the troves of information. However, there are things consumers can do to reduce their risk.

  • Victims should change their username and password for their affected healthcare account
  • Consumers should also change their username and password on any other accounts that have the same username or password as their healthcare account
  • Depending on what piece of PHI is exposed, victims should contact the affected healthcare provider to see what steps need to be taken

Victims of a data breach in the health care industry can call the ITRC toll-free at 888.400.5530 for more information on the next steps they need to take. They can also live-chat with an ITRC expert advisor.

Victims are also encouraged to download the free ID Theft Help app. The app has tools for data breach victims, including a case log to track all of their steps taken, access to helpful resources during the resolution process, instant access to an advisor and much more.


Read more…

Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

Another week has gone by, and in this week’s Weekly Breach Breakdown, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) highlights a handful of data compromises that could leave a big impact on businesses and consumers. The ITRC has been tracking publicly-notified U.S. data breaches since 2005 to look for patterns, new trends and any information that could better help educate on the need for understanding the value of protecting personally identifiable information (PII). Some of the data compromises highlighted this week include CVS, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacy data breaches with a unique twist; an athlete recruiting tool; and one state’s taxpayer system. All of these breaches have one thing in common: they are relatively small data events that can still leave a lasting impact.

CVS, Walgreens and Walmart Pharmacy Data Breaches

Three well-known companies suffered from individual pharmacy data breaches. It wasn’t a cyberattack or failure to secure their electronic records; instead, some of their stored health information was physically stolen, leaving the potential for a serious impact on the individuals whose information was exposed. During recent protests in several cities, pharmacies owned by Walmart, Walgreens and CVS were looted. Paper files and computer equipment containing customer information was taken from individual stores, not the companies at-large. The missing information included prescriptions, consent forms, birth dates, addresses, medications and physician information. All three companies affected by the pharmacy data breaches notified impacted patients, but only CVS released the number of customers involved – 21,289.

Front Rush Data Compromise

The next data compromise includes student-athlete recruiting tool, Front Rush. Front Rush recently notified 61,000 athletes and coaches that their information was open to the internet due to a misconfigured cloud database for four years. In a notice to individuals impacted, Front Rush acknowledged that they could not tell if anyone accessed or removed any PII while it was exposed to the web from 2016-2020. Some of the personal information in the database included: Social Security numbers, Driver’s Licenses, student IDs, passports, financial accounts, credit card information, birth certificates and health insurance information.

The Vermont Department of Taxes Data Compromise

The state of Vermont recently notified more than 70,000 taxpayers that the online credentials they used to file certain types of tax forms had been exposed on the internet since 2017. State officials say they lacked the tools to tell if the information was downloaded from their systems by threat actors, but they believe the risk of an identity crime is low. However, the State Department of Taxes is recommending taxpayers take precautions like monitoring bank and credit accounts, reviewing credit reports and reporting any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

What it Means

Stolen credentials like logins and passwords, like the information breached in Vermont, are currently the number one cause of data breaches, according to IBM. However, that is tied with misconfigured cloud security that leads to data being exposed to the web, as in Front Rush. Misconfigured cloud security generally means that someone forgot to set up a password or other security tool when they configured the database. Stolen physical records and devices ranks five out of ten on the attack scale for the most common attack vectors.

For more information about the latest data breaches, subscribe to the ITRC’s data breach newsletter.

NotifiedTM

Keep an eye out for the ITRC’s new data breach tracker NotifiedTM. It is updated daily and free to consumers. Businesses that need comprehensive breach information for business planning or due diligence can access as many as 90 data points through one of the ITRC’s three paid subscriptions. Subscriptions help ensure the ITRC’s free identity crime services stay free. Notified launches later this month.

If someone believes they are the victim of identity theft or their information has been compromised in a data breach, they can call the ITRC toll-free at 888.400.5530 to speak with an expert advisor. They can also use live-chat. Finally, victims of a data breach can download the free ID Theft Help app to access advisors, resources, a case log and much more. Join us on our weekly data breach podcast to get the latest perspectives on the last week in breaches. Subscribe to get it delivered on your preferred podcast platform.


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Being Able to Identify a Phishing Attack is More Important Now Than Ever

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Could Steal Credit Card Information

Hacked Dating Apps are a Popular Target for Social Engineering Scams

Another week has gone by, a week full of interesting publicly-reported U.S. data compromises. This week on the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Weekly Breach Breakdown podcast, we are focusing on cyberattacks and data breaches that help us put a price tag on people’s personal information – including EDP Renewables’ ransomware attack, a Twitter data breach that exposed Slack user information and much more.

In the 1980s, hacking started to become a thing. For the most part, hackers were young, smart and motivated by the challenge of breaking into the phone company or the Pentagon. As the ITRC’s COO and podcast host James Lee says, “the payout was street credibility.” Today, hackers are known as threat actors, and they are looking to steal people’s personal information simply because they are motivated by greed. Stealing someone’s personal information is not so much about breaking into someone’s bank account as it is stealing users’ login and passwords from a company to dupe them into paying a fake invoice (from said company) or infecting a company’s systems with ransomware.

Earlier this year, security research firm SentinelOne estimated that ransomware cost U.S. companies $7.5 billion in 2019. That number is expected to increase because the average ransom paid is going up. According to Security Boulevard, in six months between October 2019 and March 2020, the average ransom payment went from $44,000 to more than $110,000 an attack.

Originally, data thieves were content with just locking up a company’s files and walking away if they did not get paid or releasing the files back to the company if they did. Now, however, cybercriminals specializing in ransomware are using more sophisticated attack software and bolder tactics. Attackers are downloading sensitive personal information before they notify their victims instead of just sending a ransom note after locking files, turning a basic cyber hold-up into a classic data breach.

This past week, EDP Renewables, a European energy company that serves 11 million customers in the U.S., confirmed they were the target of a ransomware attack with a $14 million price-tag. Customer information was breached as part of the attack. In ransomware attacks, like EDP Renewables, the stolen information is used as leverage to force companies to pay the attackers. EDP Renewables did not pay. The demands like the one in the EDP Renewables ransomware attack make it easy to calculate the value cybercriminals put on identity information.

Another way to tell the value of personal information is to look at the price data commands in one of the Dark Web’s illicit marketplaces – where stolen information and identities are commerce. Earlier in July, data thieves posted a database of customer information from Live Auctioneers, an auction website that allows people worldwide to bid on auctioned items in real-time. The complete set of 3.4 million records are for sale starting at $2,500.

However, not all data is as valuable as other pieces of information. For example, a credit or debit card could be worth as much as $11 or as little as $1. Workspace tool Slack is learning their user information is not as valuable to data thieves, at least right now. A recent Twitter data breach exposed Slack user information. According to security researchers at KELA Group, 17,000 Slack credentials from 12,000 company workspaces are for sale on the dark web for a little as $0.50 and as much as $300. Despite the cheap low rate, no one is taking advantage of the Slack data from the Twitter data breach – posts offering the Slack credentials are nearly a year old. The reasons why cybercriminals are interested in some data and not interested in other data can vary. However, right now, data thieves are not interested in the Slack user information; because as popular as Slack is with users and Wall Street, Slack channels are rarely filled with the kinds of information cybercriminals want.

For more information about the latest data breaches, people can subscribe to the ITRC’s data breach newsletter. Keep an eye out for the ITRC’s new data breach tool, NotifiedTM. It’s updated daily and free for consumers. Businesses that need access to comprehensive breach information for business planning or due diligence can subscribe to unlock as many as 90 data points through one of three paid tiers. Subscriptions help ensure the ITRC’s free identity crime services stay free. Notified launches in August.

If someone believes they are a victim of identity theft or have been impacted by a data breach, they can call the ITRC toll-free at 888.400.5530 to speak with an expert advisor. They can also use live-chat. Finally, victims of a data breach can download the free ID Theft Help app to access advisors, resources, a case log and much more.

Join us on our weekly data breach podcast to get the latest perspectives on the last week in breaches. Subscribe to get it delivered on your preferred podcast platform.

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A Florida-based healthcare provider has issued a warning to its patients that their highly-sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI) may have been stolen in a data breach. In what appears to have been a ransomware attack, Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s servers were infiltrated by malicious actors who then encrypted patients’ files, blocking access to them by the facility’s staff members. The facility is a conglomerate of orthopaedic physicians’ offices, meaning it could be possible that patients affected by the Florida Orthopaedic Institute data breach are not familiar with the company’s name.

The Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s investigation also uncovered reasons to suspect that some of the patients’ complete identities had been stolen before the encryption. That would include such data points as names, birthdates, Social Security numbers and more. Right now, the Florida Orthopaedic Institute has not found evidence that those identities have been used. Other compromised information from the Florida Orthopaedic Institute data breach includes medical data or PHI like appointment times, insurance plan numbers and payments for services, just to name a few.

While the facility was able to regain access to the encrypted files, affected patients should take immediate action. Some important steps include:

  • Changing the passwords on any accounts that share a username and password with their Florida Orthopaedic Institute account
  • Requesting a free copy of their credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com to look for signs of unusual activity
  • Signing up for the free credit monitoring and fraud protection tools that Florida Orthopaedic Institute is providing to the victims of this breach. It’s also important for victims of the Florida Orthopaedic Institute data breach to place a freeze on their credit report if their financial or payment card information was affected.
  • Contacting their insurance provider and asking if they can change their insurance account and card number. Victims should see what additional protections they can put in place such as an additional password when calling for service
  • Checking medical insurance billing statements closely to ensure the company is not covering services received by a thief that the victim has not received

As with any data breach event, including the Florida Orthopaedic Institute data breach, consumers can also reach out to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) for help and information by live-chat or calling toll-free at 888.400.5530. The ITRC’s free ID Theft Help app for iOS and Android is a place for victims to manage their case-specific action plans and find other helpful resources.


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The Unconventional 2020 Data Breach Trends Continue

School District Data Breaches Continue to be a Playground for Hackers

Is This an Amazon Brushing Scam?

In 2019, the Identity theft Resource Center (ITRC) saw a 17 percent increase in data breaches compared to 2018. Credential stuffing attacks exploded in 2019, as well as third-party contractors being breached. 2020 has been a different story.

While scams are up due to COVID-19, publicly-reported data breaches are down in the U.S. Despite millions of Americans shifting to working from home – where cybersecurity and data protections may not be as strong as their regular workspace, the number of data breaches has dropped by one-third (nearly 33 percent) in the first six months of 2020 compared to 2019. The data compromise decrease statistics do not stop there. More significantly, the number of individuals impacted by breaches dropped by 66 percent over the same time period one year ago.

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Year -over-year January – June 2020 data breach trends provided by ITRC

The 2020 data breach statistics are good news for consumers and businesses overall. However, the emotional and financial impacts on individuals and organizations are still significant. In fact, the impact on individuals might be even more catastrophic as criminals use stolen personally identifiable information (PII) to misappropriate government benefits intended to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

External threat actors continue to account for most successful data compromises (404), compared to internal threats from employees (83) and third-party contractors (53). Internal threat data compromises are the lowest they have been since 2018.

In comparison, January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 saw 588 breaches caused by an external threat actor, 126 breaches caused by an internal threat actor and 89 involved a third-party. The data compromise decrease can be attributed, in part, to more people working from home.

Due to the increase in remote work, employees have less access to the data and systems necessary to easily steal PII. However, businesses and employees are also hyper-focused on preventing identity theft.

Unless there is a significant uptick in data compromises reported, 2020 is on pace to see the lowest number of data breaches and data exposures since 2015.

Year-over-year data breach trends 2020 provided by ITRC
Year-over-year data breach trends 2020 provided by ITRC

With that said, there is reason to believe the lower number of breaches is only temporary. Cybercriminals have been using the billions of data points stolen in data breaches during the last five years to execute different types of scams and attacks, which include phishing, credential stuffing and other exploits that require PII. With so much data being consumed and so much focus on improved cyber-hygiene, both at work and at home, the available pool of useful data is being reduced.

At some point, cybercriminals will have to update their data, which should lead to a return of the normal threat pattern. While there are signs of increased cyberattacks that – if successful – could lead to PII being compromised, it is too early to tell when the uptick may occur. Even then, it is more likely to be a “dimmer switch” approach rather than just flipping on a light switch, meaning it will not happen all at once.

The ITRC will continue to monitor all of the publicly-reported data breaches daily and analyze them to keep businesses and consumers educated on what the cybercriminals are doing.

If someone believes they have had their information exposed as part of a data compromise, or is a victim of identity theft due to a data breach, they can live-chat with an ITRC expert advisor. They can also call toll-free at 888.400.5530. Advisors can help victims create action plans that are tailored to them.

Victims can also download the free ID Theft Help App. The app lets them track their case in a case log, access resources and tips to help them protect their identity and more.

For more information on the ITRC’s data breach tracking and trend analysis, or if your organization would like to subscribe to our monthly data breach product, please email notifiedbyITRC@idtheftcenter.org.