What you might have missed... over the holidays

Posted by Akankasha Dewan on Feb 13, 2019 12:43:05 PM

Season’s Breachings!

While many of us have been away on vacation, or at best in limp mode over the year-end holiday period, here’s a reminder that cybercriminals were definitely working through.

In case you might have missed them, here’s a quick summary of some of the more notable data breaches that occurred over the break:

Collection 1

How it happened: Nearly 773 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords were posted to a hacking forum

What was affected: The dump, labelled “Collection #1” and approximately 87GB in size, was first detailed by Troy Hunt, who operates the HaveIBeenPwned breach notification service. Hunt said the data cache was likely “made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources.”

Update: Following the huge Collection #1 breach, there has been a new leak – dubbed Collection #2-5 – which has exposed 2.2 billion unique usernames and passwords.

When it was reported: January 18, 2019

You can read more about the breach here.

Nova Entertainment

How it happened: The media company admitted it recently became aware that listener information from May 2009 to October 2011 had been leaked. At the time of publication of this article, investigations are ongoing to find out how exactly cybercriminals gained access to this data.

What was affected: The extent of the data breach varied from person to person. However, it was reported that name, gender and date of birth was among the information made available, as well as residential addresses, emails and phone numbers. User account details were also leaked.

When it was reported: December 27, 2018

You can read more about the breach here.

Big W

How it happened: A Big W staffer accidentally added a confidential printout to a pile of test documents while trying to prove a customer's printer issue had been fixed.

What was affected: Identity and contact information of 32 people were accidentally revealed

When it was reported: December 17, 2018

You can read more about the breach here.

Hawthorn Football Club

How it happened: The Hawks alerted a portion of its current 60,295 members that a staff member's computer containing member details had been stolen.

What was affected: While no financial details were leaked, members’ names, member IDs, street addresses, contact phone numbers, email addresses and date of birth were revealed.

When it was reported: December 21, 2018

You can read more about the breach here.

Victorian Public Servants

How it happened: The work details of 30,000 Victorian public servants were stolen in a data breach, after part of the Victorian Government directory was downloaded by an unknown party.

What was affected: Information leaked included public servants’ work emails, job titles and work phone numbers.

When it was reported: December 30, 2018

You can read more about the breach here.

Early Warning Network

How it happened: A hacker sent messages via text, email, and landline to tens of thousands of people across Australia after an emergency warning alert service, used by councils, was hacked.

What was affected: The company stated no information has been breached or lost. Affected members of the network mainly received a spam email from the hackers. 

When it was reported: January 05, 2019

You can read more about the breach here.

In each of these instances, regardless of the size or value of the information leaked, the destructive potential is immense. The damage sustained by companies as a result of cyber attacks goes far beyond the immediate financial losses, and no doubt these firms and others that we haven’t mentioned, are still working through some of the implications.

As 2019 begins, let these data breaches serve as a motivator for all of us to practise good cyber hygiene, and to remain vigilant.

Have a cyber-safe 2019, everybody!


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