2020 was a challenging year, to say the least. We had to face a worldwide pandemic, and as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, companies had to adjust to a new reality. With employees having to work from home due to government-imposed lockdowns, many organizations needed to swiftly transform their onsite operations into a remote setting.
If that wasn’t bad enough, more than 80% of companies noticed an increase in cyberattacks – especially phishing attempts, which rose 600% since the end of February 2020. This resulted in 2020 being a year with some of the biggest data breaches in history.
Twitter is one of the biggest social networks out there, and it invests massively in its security. However, nothing can protect you from human error. In July, a group of hackers was able to gain access to the Twitter accounts of powerhouse names like Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and more. They did this by tricking Twitter's customer support into accessing a phishing website to harvest their backend credentials, which they used to reset these verified Twitter accounts' passwords.
The criminals then proceeded to tweet a Bitcoin scam from all of these accounts and made $120,000. Although this isn't a big number, things could have been far worse. Twitter profiles with a huge following have the power to influence millions. Thankfully, the criminals just wanted money and not to create an international scandal.
SolarWinds is a systems management software that allows companies to quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues and outages. To do so, it needs to communicate with all managed and monitored devices, offering it wide access across a company’s systems.
Everything started in the beginning of December when a cybersecurity provider, FireEye, disclosed that the company had suffered a breach. This came as a shock, but nobody realized how bad the situation was. Five days later, American government departments including Commerce, Treasury, and Homeland Security were also victims of a massive nation-state espionage campaign. How is this connected to FireEye? Both FireEye and the U.S. government departments were breached in the same way: through SolarWinds' most popular product, Orion. Criminals were able to hack SolarWinds' system at the end of 2019 and implemented a backdoor for future software updates. Anyone who updated the software between March and June 2020 was infected, resulting in 18,000 hacked companies.
Garmin – a popular smartwatch, mapping, and electronics company – also fell victim to a cyberattack in late July. Affected by a known ransomware tool called WastedLocker, the company saw its digital infrastructure encrypted by an external source. The website and internal communications were down for several days and, allegedly, Garmin paid the criminals $10 million to decrypt its services – a large amount considering the average ramson is usually around $100,000.
University Hospital of Düsseldorf
Due to patient safety, hospitals are a prime target for ransomware attacks, as they need to have their systems running at all times. In this sense, the cyberattack that happened against the University Hospital of Düsseldorf in early September was nothing uncommon. However, this hacking has made history because it was the first time someone died due to a cyberattack. In the middle of the crisis, a woman who needed urgent care had to be transferred to another hospital, delaying her treatment for one hour, and sadly the patient passed away.
How Password Managers Can Help
If these scary incidents teach us anything, it’s that business owners need to pay special attention to online security. And while there are various types of software that you should consider, like internet security suites and VPNs, one thing that can make a big difference is good password hygiene.
For instance, imagine that a hacker gets their hands on one of your employee’s social media accounts and the employee uses the same password for everything. The criminal can just do a simple Google search to find the person’s LinkedIn page, your company, and then easily get access to your system. That's why it's so important to have unique passwords for everything. Of course, they also need to be strong and difficult to guess. If one of your employees uses the most popular password of 2020 (‘123456‘), criminals will be able to hack into your business within minutes just by guessing. Password managers allow you and your employees to securely create and store random passwords protected behind a master password. Since the software can also autofill credentials, password managers are convenient while improving your company's online security.
Best Password Managers of 2021
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