It seems every day we hear of yet another data breach. Data breaches are not new, but it seems there has been a surge in the number of companies and organizations that have experienced an attack. It seems every day we hear of yet another breach. For instance, just a week ago we heard that a malware intrusion hit 51 UPS stories in 24 states—that’s about 1% of its locations across the U.S. For most Americans that’s pretty scary stuff. What’s more, it took UPS more than six months to really wrap its arms around the malware and to notify the public of the attack. Even Atlas reports that DDOS, or distributed denial of service, attacks have almost doubled in just Q2, over the previous year. That’s scary stuff.

To make matters even worse one of the largest hospital groups in the U.S. was hacked. Now this time personal records were snagged from Community Health Systems, which owns 206 hospitals in 29 states. What’s really chilling about this hacking is 4.5 million names birthdates, telephones numbers, addresses, and social security numbers were compromised. Let’s be clear, it’s not just patients that were affected, medical providers were also impacted. Now we are talking HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and all those violations are involved here. I hate to see what mess that group is going to have to deal with and the costs associated with this clean up.

So what’s my point? What once seemed to be about purely a sport for the young to say they could hack a site and get email addresses. We heard about these retail and POS (point-of-sale) attacks, but they were focused on Michael’s, eBay, PF Chang, Nieman Marcus, and Yahoo. But Target’s attack really captured all of our attention and the costs of recovery changed our view of what has been happening. Now organizations and consumers have started to take hacking a lot more seriously and with good reason. It’s no longer a sport for young hackers. These hackers are on a mission to steal information, sell it, and create havoc.

To make matter worse, now there is talk of these intruders attempting to remotely control and gain access to our vehicles using the latest technology in older model cars to compromise the steering and braking systems. Some law firms are putting automakers on notice saying they have a responsibility to ensure hackers are not successful in targeting Bluetooth and wireless connections to the cars.

While all of the aforementioned is somewhat disheartening, we have to look at the facts. First everything is vulnerable to an attack. Knowing this is the first step to preventing one. Despite all the negative headlines and the frustration we might be feeling, this gives us a great opportunity to work together. The only way to beat the bad guys is to talk about more collaboration across the country. Just imagination what we can accomplish when we put together the great minds in academia, government, and industry. You can hear more today on The Peggy Smedley Show at 12 noon central as we wrap up our month long discussion on cybersecurity.

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