What is information security? The worst 5 losses of all time

What is information security? The worst 5 losses of all time

Posted on Mar 09, 2017

What is information security? The worst 5 losses of all time.



What is information security?

‘Information Security’ is simply protecting and safeguarding your organisation’s information.


What do you mean by ‘information’?

In broad terms, there are three different types of information:

  • Customer or service-user information, such as names and addresses
  • Operational information, like internal processes or personal staff data
  • Intellectual property, like products, services, or new ideas

So this could be about who you are, what you do, and how you do it, or about people – such as staff, clients, students, or suppliers. You and your organisation rely on information, you use it, share it, and would be lost without it. So, ‘information security' is all about keeping information safe from damage, loss, or theft. 


Why is information security so important?

Data loss is costing organisations a massive £1.4 trillion per year, and 60% of organisations that experience severe data losses or damage go bust within a year. Data breaches also put organisations on the wrong side of data protection law, and can lead to criminal charges and/or fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office, or ICO. Apart from all the harm, hassle and expense that may arise, data breaches can destroy an organisation’s good name and reputation.


So, what kind of things can go wrong?

Actually, quite a lot. Information can be lost, destroyed, damaged, compromised, infected, stolen, breached or leaked. Damage can be either deliberate or accidental, and can be caused by humans, machines or natural disasters. The sources of damage can be broadly divided into arising from internal error or wrongdoing, mechanical or external attack. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples…


The 5 worst information security losses of all time


5 – Anthem Health Insurance. 2015.

In January 2015, 80 million US customers’ data was hacked from this health insurance giant, including personal details like names and addresses and Social Security numbers.


4 – TJX. 2003.

TJX is the parent company of TK Maxx (or TJ Maxx in The States), and they admitted in 2007 that 94 million customer accounts had been hacked since 2003.


3 – Heartland. 2006-2008.

Heartland is one of the world’s largest payment processing companies, and between 2006 and 2008 they lost more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers to hackers. At the time it was the largest ever loss of its kind.


2 – eBay. 2014.

eBay hit the headlines in May 2014 when they admitted 148 million users’ details had been compromised, and asked all customers to change their passwords as a result.


1 – American business hack 2005-2012.

In 2013 US Federal prosecutors launched the largest ever hacking fraud case after a hacking and credit card fraud spree, originating from Russia, costing companies across the US more than $300 million.


Train your staff

You can now train your staff in information security awareness with flick learning. Subscribing with flick offers access not only to the brand new Information Security course, but to all flick courses, plus downloadable guides and resources in the flick library.

So why not sign up today?


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