Worst Data Security Breaches Of The 21st Century

Security breaches as far as data is concerned happen almost every day and it is hard to keep counting as they occur. It is good to ask what are the attributes of a small data breach and what does a big data breach look like. This article will take into consideration some of the biggest data breach incidents in history.


Heartland payment systems

This happened in the year 2008 where over 130 million credit cards were exposed to risky transactions. The persons indicted on this offense were Gonzalez Albert and some other two Russians. It is alleged that Albert, who hails from Cuba, was the mastermind behind the operation. This operation led to the loss of the credit cards and debit cards belonging to various clients. Security experts and analysts had forewarned people against the SQL injection on their credit and debit cards. In spite of the many warnings that had been sounded about the SQL injections, many people were preyed on by these criminals.

TJX Companies Inc.

In this data breach case, over 94 million credit cards were exposed to risk. This happened in the year 2006 but the reports given to this effect are somehow conflicting. They do not add up. A certain report is seen saying that the cyber criminals capitalized on the data encryption system that was somehow weak and they made away with credit card data. This happened in the process of a wireless transfer that involved two stores in Miami belonging to Marshall. The other report says that the hackers broke into the TJX network through the use of kiosks that permitted people to apply for jobs online. The latter report is somehow credible since the network that TJX had did not have adequate security especially firewalls. The ringleader of the pact was Albert Gonzalez. He together with eleven of his accomplices was sent behind bars for 40 years.



This data breach act was reported to have happened in March 2011. It has not been possible to determine where the breach came from. However, experts have agreed almost unanimously that the breach could be an opening to huge and uncountable phishing scams and unmatched stealing of identities. Various views have been argued for the breach. The Chief Security Officer in BT, Bruce Schneier, wrote in his blog that there is a probability of having lost over a million email addresses and names and other information that belonged to customers. He further states that the personal information stolen could be applied to stage some personalized phishing attacks to unsuspecting customers. The stealing of personal information is not aimed at making away with anything from the company but this is aimed at stealing from unsuspecting clients who are always shopping online and doing other businesses online. The breach is estimated to have amounted to slightly over $4 billion dollars. Epsilon is known to handle over 2,000 global brands, and it further handles over 35 billion emails per year. In view of this, it is argued that this scam could be the biggest breaches of our time.

The Biggest Data Breaches In 2016 So Far

The year 2015 witnessed some of the largest breaches of data ever seen. Companies have rolled up their sleeves so as to engage with the hackers and those who commit cyber crimes. This is in efforts to try and reduce the ever increasing cases of data breach across the globe. Be that as it may, it is anticipated that 2016 will be an interesting one since some companies will experience new data breach cases. Some of the data breaches to be wary of in the year 2016 are:



This is a company that deals in aerospace parts manufacturing and it is based in Austria. Some of its clients are Boeing and Airbus. FACC was a victim of hackers in January 2016. The hackers, in spite of the fact that they were in possession of critical intellectual property and company data, chose to siphon over $54 million U.S dollars. FACC says that the operations were not affected even as investigations were being conducted.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida was a victim of data breach in February 2016. The data breach affected over 63,000 former and continuing students, staffs, and other faculty members. The University reported the breach in January, but before it could be announced to the public, the administration chose to engage the law enforcing authorities as well as conducting some investigations internally. Cyber criminals who were not recognized gained access to the computer system of the university and made away with critical information that belonged to the students. This included student numbers, last and first names, and social security numbers.

Department of Justice in the United States

There was some diplomatic tension between the United States and Israel. Cyber criminals who were irked by the relations between the two countries breached the database that was owned by the department of Justice in the United States. According to CNN news and reports, the hackers managed to make public data of over 10,000 employees from the Department of Homeland Security within one day. The following day, the hackers made public the data of over 20,000 FBI employees. This happened in February 2016. Some of the information that was stolen included titles, cell phone numbers, and email addresses among others. The Department of Justice denies continually that any information such as Social Security Numbers was stolen. The hackers tweeted from their secret location and said that the Department of Justice took a full week to realize that their systems had been compromised.


Internal Revenue Service

The data breach that was reported in May 2015 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was more than what it was believed to be. The Internal Revenue Service held that the personal information of over 100,000 American taxpayers was compromised when some cyber criminals hacked the Get Transcript system. However, this would change in February, as the IRS said that the exact number of taxpayers affected was over 700,000. It is believed that the hacking was done by a Russian criminal gang.

Reasons Why Your Business Needs An Extranet

You can make your business successful in a number of ways. However, in case your company is in dire need to disseminate information to peripheral partners and clients, you should ask yourself whether the working practices that you are using are easy, effective, and as professional as possible.


In the digital era, several ways are in place that can enable a company to maintain its employees and other external partners in a connected manner so as to share information. Of all the ways that enable effective communication and information sharing, there is none that can beat extranet. Extranet enables the sharing of information through a web portal. This is an indication that you do not have to be at a specific place to access extranet. This makes extranet the perfect network that can be sued by companies to share information with third parties such as business associates, customers, and shareholders.

Extranet can be applied in a variety of industrial sectors since everyone needs to share some private information with a certain third party for instance an agent. The light bulb moment about extranet is its efficiency that cannot be matched. A business can secretly create an online store that is secure and that can be accessed by all interested parties centrally. This manner of information sharing is efficient and makes it possible for everyone to access the correct information at any time. Why would you need extranet for your company or business?

Sharing of information is simple

Maybe you can argue that it is possible to share company files via e-mail. While this fact holds true, it is necessary to consider what happens to large files. The files clog the inboxes of staffs and other third party persons of your business and delivery may fail in the long run. Searching for such information on email is such a daunting, irritating, and time consuming task. This is because the information is held up in large chunks of email since employees receive several emails in a day. This act hugely impacts the productivity of staffs. However, when you use Glasscubes extranet, you will be able to access all the information that you need from a central point – the cloud. Searching the Glasscubes workspace is not hard hence you can get the information that you need in just a few clicks.


Assets are secure and safe

A company’s lifeline is the information it has. Glasscubes makes it possible to have all documents in an up to date version and secure. Moreover, the persons who can access the information are the ones who belong to a certain workspace, and each staff has a password that they can use to access the workspace. Never mind if a certain email you sent was so large that your colleagues were not able to download. Glasscubes ensures that all the information is secure in the cloud. You will not experience the issues of sending the wrong messages to staffs since they can access all information from the cloud.

Firewalls Complete – What’s an internet/intranet firewall?

There is a certain part in car that is found in between the passenger compartment and the engine. Firewall is the name of this part. The passengers are protected by the firewall from any clash or explosion that the car might suffer from. Computer networks also have a firewall. The purpose of the firewall is to protect your network from the networks whose source cannot be trusted. You are in between a public network and a company’s production network. The public network has little or no control over what, where, and how things happen. On the other hand the production network of a company has to be protected from users who have ulterior motives such as damaging the flow of information or siphoning important data for the company.


Firewall criticism

Some critics of firewall argue that it is of null implication to protect the company’s network while allowing the intranet to be accessed by the internet. The explanation to this is not hard. Companies have to survive and thrive in spite of the technological challenges that are around them. Many companies advertise their products and services through the internet. It is common knowledge that internet has grown in tremendous rate as does shopping malls and market places. More people are accessing each day.

The more the traffic, the more companies ought to be more vigilant to ensure that the products that they sell are secure and of high integrity. It is nowadays a necessity to protect your transactions, data, and transmissions from any third party interruptions. The internet is awash with people and companies who are out to delude you and earn a dime from your inexperience.

What do firewalls mean?

The world offers a variety of configurations and models of firewalls, but they all exist to do the same work. You are in need of allowing users who hail from a network that is protected, such as your company network, to gain access to a public network, the internet in this case, and to avail the products and services of the company to the public network. The main challenge that arises from connecting your company to the internet without proper security measures is that of exposure to attacks from the servers that are online.

It is not only your corporate network that is vulnerable to unauthorized access, but every other server in the network of your company. Therefore, think about firewalls whenever you are in the process of securing the network of your company. You need to be very clear about the information that you will avail to the internet. Ensure that you server is safe by obstructing any unauthorized log in, transfer of files, and execution of commands remotely.


What will firewall do?

A firewall will separate your secure network from the insecure one: the internet in this case. You cannot access the internet from an intranet when you have a firewall in place neither can you access intranet from the internet. Before you install a firewall ensure that you are in the know of the layers of your corporate network.

Uses Of The Intranet For HR

A human resource manager has his/her work clearly cut out. Some of the work involves sharing updated information with the staffs, ensuring that transactions in HR are correctly done, and working to oversee a cohesive culture of the company. All these functions are backed by an intranet that functions well. This article focuses on how the HR can and should use the intranet of the organization.

laptop with graphic

Disseminating information

The most rational and centrally located place to have the HR documents is the intranet. Any changes can be effected by updating the previous version to the latest version. This helps to reduce any ensuing confusion. Some of the documents that can be saved on the intranet are leave information for staffs, compensation info and job descriptions, standard operating procedures, and employee benefits. Any news that relate to the HR are properly relayed via the intranet. Some of these are new staffs, any holidays, job vacancies, and changes in the operating procedures. A HR calendar can be viewed to see any upcoming training and other important dates for the organization. By having information shared on the intranet, the number of queries to the HR will effectively reduce, hence giving the HR staff some time to focus on other tasks.

Collection of critical employee information

The intranet can be sued by the HR to collect any information needed in an urgent manner. For instance, the database of the employees can be saved on the intranet and employees can always visit the database and update any changes on their personal information. Moreover, an e-form can be created by the HR to assess the training needs of the staff, and this is instrumental for the HR to plan for other activities.

Transactions for the HR

The HR staff may endeavor to create some e-forms for any transaction that they have. For instance, enrollment for various benefits and booking for some certain resource can be completed on the intranet. Since it is possible to access the intranet from any browser even on mobile devices, approvals can be completed even without having the officers approving physically in the office.



HR can plan, schedule, and deliver training from the intranet. Some of the tools that support effective training such as videos, power point slides, photos, and texts can be shared on the intranet as well. Staffs can find the training materials and read them prior to a physical training making it easy to train and deliver.

Gathering feedback

It is rather easy for the HR to gather data for any feedback that is needed through the use of the intranet. Apart from gathering the questions that staffs have, the HR staffs can easily gather the feedback of staffs on the content of various documents and other operating procedures. Further, the HR can carry out staff survey on the intranet and use this information to make informed decisions with regards to an outstanding matter. Moreover, the feedback given by the staffs can help the HR to gauge the emotional level of the staffs.

Intranet: What to know

It is common occurrences to have people confuse internet and intranet. Even though the two are related, they are different. To put it in simple facts, internet is the renowned World Wide Web, and intranet on the other hand is a company’s private internet that a company uses in its operation. The two make use of TCP & IP modus operandi as well as features such as e-mail. However, a striking difference between internet and intranet is that intranet users can access the internet, but the users of internet across the globe cannot access intranet unless they have access. This inhibition has been enabled by protective measures such as firewalls. Moreover, intranet can be operated without necessarily accessing the web as long as the controllers of the intranet do not need any information accessed from the internet.

Corporate data management system (DMS) and document management system concept. Businessman click (or publish) on document connected with corporate users with access rights.

There was hogwash criticism by doubting Thomas concerning the invention of intranet. It was said that intranet was an unnecessary procession of technological fashions and catchphrases. This narrative was soon reversed when business owners saw the importance of having intranet. A business may require setting up intranet for a variety of reasons. Intranet has broad bandwidths that make it possible to have speedy communication as opposed to the internet. Intranet has clandestine interior networks, e.g. LAN, that provides security in form of firewalls and areas that are protected by passwords. Intranet makes it possible to control businesses in an easy manner as well as taking charge of the staffs. Moreover, users of intranet are assured of versatility, increased productivity, less paperwork, and enhanced flexibility. These and other factors that endear businesses to intranet are coiled in the attractive bottom line that businesses always look for: increase in profits and reduction of production cost.

Intranet can be applied in various ways. Inter-office email is the predominant one. This enables the staffs of an organization or business entity to communicate fast and in an easy manner. In case it is possible to access internet from intranet within the company, then the employees may as well take advantage of this and access email through internet. In case intranet is run without e-mail, then the organization can purchase and install special packages of email to enable fast and efficient communication.


Intranet can be applied in many other areas within a business entity. Corporate documents can be published on the web through the use of intranet. Moreover, web forms and other vital links can be shared through intranet. Other information that can be shared through the intranet is price lists, job postings, maps, customer data, company reports, and other important announcements that a company may wish to communicate to its staffs.

Almost every company has some forms to deal with. This is another headache that most companies grapple with. Intranet comes in handy by enabling the creation of online forms that can be filled in soft copy. The forms may as well be printed by the people using them and this would reduce the time taken to distribute the forms physically. Intranet is a worthwhile invention.

Intranet Security: HowSecure Is Your Company Intranet

When mentioned in the office, the intranet security issue is greeted with muffled looks and gorged eyes. There is an underlying assumption that intranet is safe from attacks, hacking, and viruses since it is internally used. The security of intranet transcends any external threats. A company needs to ensure that certified staffs are allowed to access the correct information as this also affects the security of the office intranet.

credit card phishing - piles of credit cards with a fish hook on computer keyboard


External threats for the intranet security

The intranet is a private and closed network. In spite of this, intranet is vulnerable to cyber criminals especially hackers and other software that bear malicious threats in the form of malware, viruses, and worms. This article examines some of the external threats that the intranet faces and how they can be curbed.

Security threats on the network

External threats are best covered by the use of firewall. A firewall acts as a defensive cover between the internet and intranet. A firewall is a hardware device or a software program that is able to filter information that flows to the intranet. Based on some preconfigured rules and guidelines given by the administrator, firewall may block or allow the flow of traffic between several devices. Firewalls acts as security on several threats that are from the internet. We may not say that firewalls are the best defense, but it suffices to say that firewalls are a good point of defense.

Breaches in security

It is possible for the intranet to experience little traffic that is suspicious. This may include malware, phishing, spam, and spyware. A properly set filter of emails coupled with a firewall will block the unwanted traffic.


Almost every business entity or organization needs to install software that defends its software from viruses. That is anti-virus software. Virus threats are changing day in day out. In view of this, you should ensure that you constantly update your anti-virus software to the current version.

There are some internal threats that you should address too. Some of them are:-


Scrawny passwords

Most of the staffs that are used to working on one computer have very weak passwords. They may even share the passwords with their fellow staffs, and they seldom change them. Some employees go to a further step of writing the passwords on a piece of paper and pinning it near their desks. The Information Technology manager should ensure that employees are prompted to change their passwords after every two months (recommended timeline). Moreover, the passwords should be limited in length, and they should have special characters, numbers and letters.

Accessing information remotely

Remote office access is a common happening across many organizations. This is done mostly by the staffs who work from home, and they do so from their personal computers, phones, tablets, and other devices. The organization should follow to ensure that the devices that access the intranet are fitted with anti-virus software. Moreover, any worker who accesses the company intranet using 4G, 3G or Wi-Fi is automatically exposing the company to risk. The passwords should not be saved on the devices and there should be automated time-outs.

Benefits Of Intranets And Extranets

In the current business setting, it is critical to have effective communication channels both internally with staffs and externally with clients and other trading partners. Intranet makes it possible for the employees to communicate effectively, share information, and collaborate at work. Extranet on the other hand makes it possible for you to cooperate and communicate properly with the business agents, partners, and other third party persons. An extranet plays a pivotal role in strengthening business relations and enhancing supply chain management.


Intranet: What is it?

Ideally speaking, intranet is synonymous with a private website of a business. An intranet is a private network for a business that operates in a similar manner to the internet since firewall secures it from probable hackers and illegitimate users. Staff can deliver on their mandate from a location of their choice so long as they can access a web browser. Any staff can access intranet in an easy and secure manner. Small companies can therefore engage staffs and have them work from any location, even at home, thus reducing office control overheads.

Web offices or online intranet office

There are other intranet types that have the ability of amalgamating some common features of intranets making them same as the ones in Microsoft Office. Such intranets are the web or online offices. If you can create an online office, then you should be able to organize, share, and manage information through the use of a renowned web browser that can be accessed by anyone across the world.

Components those are common for intranet

Intranets can be used to hold more data than the policies and information of a company. Intranet can hold administrative information such as procedure manuals, calendars, bookings for meeting rooms, membership of welfare committees and groups, and standard operating procedures. Intranet can also hold corporate information such as vision and mission statements, business plan, templates of documents, staff newsletters, and lists of customers/clients. The annual reports and the overall performance of an organization can also be accessed via intranet. Moreover, human resources department stores its information in the intranet. Such information includes employee appraisals, annual leave requests and their templates, and new vacancies in the organization. Intranet makes it possible to work effectively without wasting too much time.


Extranet: what is it?

There is a very thin line that separates intranet and extranet. The disparity between the two is that external partners such as agents, key clients, business associates, and suppliers can access the company information. It is on the extranet platform that information is shared and exchanged. Extranet is also a critical technology that enables staffs to work from a remote place. The users of extranet are protected from information hackers and other cyber crime actions that they might be exposed to. Extranet makes it possible to work in a flexible manner so as to meet the varying demands of various clients. It also helps businesses to connect with trading partners in an easy manner as well as accessing information anytime.