Massachusetts-based software gets hacked, exposing millions of Americans’ personal data - The Worcester Observer

Massachusetts-based software gets hacked, exposing millions of Americans’ personal data

Worcester Editorial 22nd Jun, 2023 Updated: 22nd Jun, 2023   0

A recent data breach event affected Louisiana and Oregon citizens, with more than six million compromised driver’s licenses or state ID cards.

Still, the number can be more significant than that. The source of the hack has been disclosed as a Russian ransomware organisation, and it targeted the MOVEit file transfer software.

The system had a security flaw that hackers took advantage of, which affected regular citizens and companies like the University of Georgia and the Johns Hopkins Health System.

Although the breach had significant coverage, authorities related how the campaign didn’t last long, and experts were able to track the issue early after its occurrence. However, Louisiana and Oregon officials warned citizens that their names, addresses, social security numbers and other personal information had been exposed.

MOVEit stated that it’s currently helping customers fix their systems and providing guidance to mitigate the risks. Still, data breach incidents have increased, and clients are affected more than ever. What can we do about it?

Why do data breaches hit more businesses?

A data breach is a serious subject that must be treated more responsibly. According to, its impacts can be so damaging to regular people that it can lead to severe psychiatric damage, taking people’s abilities to carry on with their lives after the event. And although they can claim compensation to cover for financial losses, knowing that all your information is over the internet can be pretty daunting.

Companies are one step behind the effects of a data breach, which explains the increasing number that affects small businesses and even corporations. The disparities between old technologies and emerging hacking techniques have preposterous consequences for a company’s brand image and a customer’s data integrity. Looking at almost 20 years of data, we can conclude that the trend of data being compromised by such occurrences is only increasing, despite its inconsistencies.

According to Statista, healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing are the top three industries with the most data breaches recorded in America. Unfortunately, these hacks could be prevented if companies would take proper measures to decrease human errors, eliminate inside misuse and devise a security management system.

But how can hackers break so easily into computer systems? 

Up until now, hackers made themselves known by using simple-to-understand tactics. For example, the classic phishing way of stealing data is usually executed through email or SMS, in which messages are tailored to sound as coming from reliable sources. For example, some hackers disguise these messages as coming from banks, pursuing clients to check their accounts by clicking on a link provided by them infected with malware. Once clicked, malicious data is downloaded into one’s system or device, opening the door for hackers to access personal information.

You may think it’s easy to tell if these messages are fake, but they’re devised so that even companies’ employees are getting tricked. But office workers don’t usually receive proper training in securing the organisation’s system, often leading to human errors. At the same time, people are not aware of how easy it is for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

How can companies avoid data breaches?

Preventing data breaches is never 100% sure of eliminating risks. However, companies can mitigate risks by enhancing their inside culture and developing a certain standard of cyber resilience. Starting from the worst case, some businesses don’t even know what a data breach is, for which they must learn more about the risks around them, especially if they provide services in one of the three most hit sectors by attacks. Data breaches can also take different forms, meaning there’s no standard formula to detect them immediately, so an entire safety system must be implemented.

You can start by improving the general security management and handle the development of better firewall systems, VPNs and traffic monitoring. Even third parties’ activity should be monitored to ensure there’s no system crack in the workplace environment. This takes us to the next point, emphasizing the importance of training employees. Everyone working in the company must follow the best practices to safeguard information, meaning you must create frequent training sessions to discuss common threats and new risks.

Overall, implementing software security systems and devising an IT department that can take care of bugs is essential, but each company has different goals. There are many steps to creating the perfect security system, so you must research thoroughly.

What can companies learn from previous data breach cases?

In the modern history of technology, some of the biggest data breaches took the world by storm, but they provided valuable lessons that apply to this day. Let’s take the example of Facebook, one of the biggest social media platforms hacked in 2019, affecting more than 540 million users and their public data exposed. The problem with this situation was a third party working with Facebook, Cultura Colectiva, failing to store users’ information properly. This tells us how important it is to control and monitor collaborations with third parties, as they can create a bridge for hacking to occur.

There’s also the case of Equifax, a reliable credit reporting American agency. The conditions of this breach are different, as it was later discovered that the company had many issues in their security systems, allowing hackers to quickly enter their systems, which resulted in exposed sensitive information of 143 million US consumers. Their names, social security numbers and credit card numbers were stolen. The official cause of the incident was the company’s failure to apply a security patch. What can you learn from this event? Your company should create a system where updates and patches are automatically applied, which decreases the chances of your company getting exposed. However, you must check these aspects frequently because technology can fail us sometimes. But with the latest devices and software, businesses should be able to provide more protection rather than get sensitive.

Bottom line

A recent Massachusetts-based software system was hacked, exposing millions of Americans’ data. Following this incident, we can’t help but wonder if companies are taking all the necessary measures to protect their customers, but the truth is that the data breach trends are worryingly increasing, so businesses must reinforce cyber resilience into their culture and invest more in data security.

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