Sears Delta Breach Among the Biggest Data Breaches in 2018

Poor safety practices of companies and their customers continue allowing major data breaches in 2018, and the joint data breach of Sears and Delta might be one of the biggest ones we will see this year. Although the data breach affected these US-based companies, they did not have anything to do with the incident itself, as the data breach occurred via the services provided by [24]7.ai, a company that provides third-party services. Sears uses the company's online support services at Sears and Kmart stores, and Delta uses chat services. The full extent of the data breach is still unknown; however, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of users could have been affected. The data breach, of course, affected US and Canada citizens the most; however, some international customers have been affected too. According to Delta, only a small number of international customers should have been affected; however, everyone who suspects that their cards might have been used for unauthorized purchases should call +1-512-201-2207.

How big was Sears and Delta credit card data breach?

A data breach affected [24]7.ai when undisclosed malware slithered in. Unfortunately, no information has been released explaining the attack and the reasons cybercriminals managed to perform it successfully. Although it is known that even large and reputable companies often fail to apply appropriate security measures, it is still surprising that these data breaches keep happening. Equifax, Uber, Yahoo, eBay, Target, and Adobe are all huge global companies, and they all have been linked to some of the biggest data breaches in the history. Whether it's due to human error or advanced techniques used by cyber attackers, data breaches keep on happening. According to the official statement, Sears data breach might have allowed remote attackers to access the credit card information just shy of 100,000 company's customers. When it comes to the Delta data breach, several hundred thousand customers might have been exposed. The surprising thing is that the companies did not learn about the breach right away. In fact, while it occurred between September 26 and October 12 of 2017, Sears got the information in March 2018, whereas Delta learned about it in April 2018. [24]7.ai first learned about the issue when the attack occurred.

Delta set up delta.allclearid.com to assist its customers for free. The website offers solutions that customers in the US, Canada, and outside the region can use to protect their data. The information on the website also recommends paying close attention to all payment card statements and calling the bank if any suspicious activity is recorded. It is also recommended that customers beware of scam emails and calls that could be used to extract personal information illegally. These recommendations are made because Delta data breach involved the potential exposure of credit card information. Full names and home addresses could have been leaked as well. According to the official statement, Sears data breach did not expose customers' Sears-branded credit cards information. Although the data breach has been contained by [24]7.ai, it is still hard to assess the real damage caused by the cyber attack and the massive data breach.

How to stop data breaches

Without a doubt, that is easier said than done. As we discussed already, human error is a real thing, and, in many cases, companies are responsible for not implementing the right security measures, updating applications and software, or ensuring that unauthorized access cannot be gained. In the instance of Delta credit card data breach and Sears data breach, we cannot discuss the issues or mistakes that [24]7.ai might have faced because the company has not released information about the attack. It is also hard to say how seriously these companies are taking cyber attacks. There is no doubt that Delta is taking it pretty seriously because it has spent its own money to offer free services for a period of 2 years for all customers who might have been affected by the Delta credit card data breach. Sears has also released an official update stating that it is working with federal law enforcement authorities and IT security firms to investigate the attack. The company also declared that it was informing all affected customers.

At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of these companies to ensure safe practices and the protection of customers' data. In this instance, Sears and Delta might be reconsidering its partnerships with [24]7.ai; especially because the company did not provide appropriate information on time. As long as companies value their own reputation and interests over customers' security, things are unlikely to change. While there is nothing regular users can do – except for contacting companies and requesting appropriate security measures to be taken – there are things that every single one of us can do.

How to make it harder for cyber attackers to breach data:

  • Limit subscription to services that require personal information (i.e., do not sign up for countless of services that do not offer real benefits).
  • Keep yourself updated with the latest information so as not to overlook news regarding massive data breaches. You want to take action as soon as possible when a data breach is discovered and reported.
  • Use available resources and tips provided by the providers of services you use to ensure that your personal information is always protected.
  • Beware of scams (via spam emails, fake websites, pop-ups, and phone calls) that could be used to extract personal information.
  • Use strong passwords for all your accounts – including Delta and Sears – to ensure that cyber attackers cannot gain access to them illegally.

In conclusion, if you have become a victim of Delta credit card breach or Sears data breach, you might be feeling mighty unlucky, but do not think that the lighting does not strike twice. No one is 100% safe. While you might not be able to control the actions of companies, you can still do your part in ensuring that you cannot be blamed for personal data breaches. Good luck!

By Foley
August 8, 2018
August 8, 2018

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