Weekly Breach


01/13/2020 – 01/17/2020


Check if your account has been compromised on the dark web


Weekly Breach: 01/13/2020 – 01/17/2020

This week, ransomware closes a company’s doors, an online store gives away customer data, and the UK has a rough year for data security. 

Alomere Health  – General medical and surgical hospital

Breach: Phishing attack.Two employees fell for a phishing scam that gave hackers access to patients’ protected health information. The first breach occurred between October 31, 2019 and November 1, 2019, while a second breach took place on November 6, 2019. In response, the company is updating its email security protocols, an effort that won’t restore the stolen data nor repair the company’s already-damaged reputation. In addition, Alomere Health could face regulatory penalties because of the nature and scope of the data breach.

The compromised employee email accounts stored patient data, including names, addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, health insurance information, along with sensitive diagnosis and treatment details. In addition, some patients had their Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers exposed. Alomere Health is offering free credit and identity monitoring services to those impacted by the breach, and anyone affected should enroll in these services. In addition, they should be especially critical of online communications, as the stolen data can be deployed in phishing scams that can collect additional personal data.


Contra Costa Library System – Library network

Breach: Ransomware. A ransomware attack disabled the entire library network, impacting all 26 branches. While buildings remain open, patrons have to bring their library cards to a location to manually check out books. The incident will bring significant recovery costs to the library network, which just updated its systems in 2018. For an organization with limited resources, this attack can reduce their ability to meet customer needs and invest in future opportunities.

Ransomware attacks come with high recovery and opportunity costs. Especially for SMBs that operate with more limited budgets, these increasingly common attacks can dampen their financial outlook and prevent them from embracing opportunities in the future. However, ransomware always requires a foothold, and every organization can take steps to ensure that they are not inviting these attacks to damage their business.

Wyze – Low-budget home security company

Breach: Unprotected database. A cybersecurity company identified an exposed database containing the personal details of millions of Wyze users. The breach, which has not been confirmed by Wyze, is an unforced error that could have serious and financial and reputational implications. Smart home technology is often targeted by hackers due to its sensitive nature, and many consumers are already unwilling to work with companies that cannot protect their personal data, especially when it impacts their peace of mind and security.

Users’ personal data, including email addresses, list of cameras, camera names, Wi-Fi SSID, API tokens, and Alexa tokens, were all publicly available from the exposed database. Those impacted by the breach should reset their account passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and closely monitor their accounts for unusual activity.

Children’s Choice Pediatrics – Pediatric healthcare provider

Breach: Ransomware. A ransomware attack encrypted patient data and exposed patient records to hackers. The attack, which was discovered on October 27, 2019, encrypted the healthcare provider’s entire network. When records were restored, the provider discovered that some were irretrievably deleted. In response, Children’s Choice Pediatrics is upgrading its cybersecurity protocols to ensure that they don’t give a foothold to future ransomware attacks. However, the opportunity cost, reputational damage, and recovery expenses will continue to weigh down the practice now and for the foreseeable future.

While hackers often encrypt company data to extract a ransom, many are turning to data theft as a means to exact additional money from a ransomware attack. In this case, some patients’ personally identifiable information may have been exposed to hackers. Those impacted by the breach should stay vigilant in monitoring their online accounts and scrutinizing digital communications as this data is often redeployed in phishing attacks that compromise additional data.

Perricone MD – Skincare cosmetics brand

Breach: Malware attack. The online payment platform for Perricone MD has been infected with payment skimming malware, impacting customers in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. However, hackers were only able to exfiltrate data from one country. Incredibly, the malware was planted on the website more than a year ago, giving hackers plenty of time to refine their efforts to steal sensitive data. For a company that relies on online sales to fuel its bottom line, such an egregious cybersecurity event can be devastating, and Perricone MD will have to work to restore their customers’ trust.

Perricone MD customers that made an online purchase in the past year should review their account records and financial details for unusual or suspicious activity. In addition, they should report the incident to their financial institutions to ensure that their accounts aren’t used for additional crimes. Finally, credit and identify monitoring services can continue to monitor customers’ credentials even after the immediate urgency wares off.

London Stock Exchange – Stock exchange for the city of London

Breach: Cyber-attack. Authorities are reexamining an August outage at the London Stock Exchange that was initially attributed to a software glitch. The disruption prevented traders from buying or selling shares for more than 90 minutes, and impacted prices on two stock indexes. The incident could have been caused by hackers trying to destabilize markets for their own gain or even set the stage for a more nefarious scheme in the future. The lengthy time to identification reflects the difficulty that many companies have when identifying and addressing cyber threats.

Having the ability to identify and quickly respond to a data breach is a critical element of any business. Because threats lurk all around us, even the most well-defended companies can incur data loss events. When it comes to data breach recovery, time is money, and a finely-tuned response plans can lessen the repercussions of a breach by allowing companies to recover more quickly.

In Other News:


UK Businesses Endured an Attack Every Minute in 2019 

For companies around the world, 2019 was a terrible year for data security. This is especially true for UK businesses, which endured a deluge of cybersecurity episodes equal to an attack every minute. Individually, it’s estimated that each business experienced 576,575 attempts to compromise company data in 2019, a 152% year-over-year increase. 

The report, compiled by Beaming, a Hastings-based ISP, identified China as the origin for nearly ⅕ of the attacks. Hackers commonly pursued domain admin tools and IoT endpoints to gain access to company networks. In total, the report concluded that 2019 was the worst year on record for UK data breaches. Moreover, the report cautioned SMBs to take cybersecurity issues more seriously by recognizing the profound risk and implementing basic protection plans, including adopting two-factor authentication to secure web platforms.

ID Agent Speaks with The Cyber Wire Podcast 

This week, The Cyber Wire Podcast replayed my conversation in which I discussed the role of monitoring initiatives in helping victims recover from the 2015 data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management, which compromised 4.2 million government employees. 

The data breach is one of the most significant data breaches in history, and it serves as a harbinger for our current data landscape. Hackers effectively obtained a dossier on millions of Americans and monitoring the Dark Web for this information was an enormous, sprawling effort that provided security and peace-of-mind to those impacted by the breach.

Listen to the Cyber Wire Podcast to learn more about the team responsible for restoring and protecting the identities of more than four million government employees in the Office of Personnel Management. Today, this type of data disaster is much more common, and the risk of both companies and consumers has never been higher. At ID Agent, we provide the tools to help protect your customer and company data from falling into the wrong hands.

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