It moves so rapidly that estimates alone account for the speed at which data networks are breached and compromised today. In the first half of 2019, about 4.5 billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches. In one 2019 incident alone, 2.7 billion identity records – including 774 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords – were posted for sale on the web.

The scale of the threat is almost incomprehensible. Possibly as a result, the solutions thrown at it on a daily basis can seem equally complicated and elaborate. And yet the fact is, that the most impactful data security breaches in history remain the ones that were perpetrated through devices, not web-borne viruses. And that physical dimension of cybersecurity remains to this day the sector that is virtually unguarded, the “open front door” of cybersecurity.

The Dirty Dozen of 2019

Security Magazine recently published the top 12 data breaches of 2019. The sheer variety causes us to conclude that no sector of the cybersecurity perimeter should remain unguarded, particularly not the visible, accessible, physical sector.

  • 108 million records: ElasticSearch server breach – an online casino group leaked info on 108 million bets.
  • 139 million records: Canva data breach – graphic design site was raided for users from 44 companies globally.
  • 202 million records: MongoDB data breach – hacked personal and professional info of job candidates in China.
  • 275 million records: MongoDB data breach – exposed highly personal data on Indian citizens for two weeks.
  • 540 million records: Third-party Facebook apps (Cultura Colectiva and At the Pool) – two datasets exposed publicly, including ID, photos, and passwords.
  • 617 million records: Dream Market data breach – account details stolen from 16 hacked websites were up for sale.
  • 773 million records: Collection #1 data breach – dozens of breaches scored email and password combinations.
  • 808 million records: data breach – emails, phones, and business leads found from four collections.
  • 885 million records: First American data breach – largest title insurance company leaked complete transaction details.
  • 1 billion records: TrueDialog data breach – SMS messages, senders, and recipients were revealed.
  • 2 billion records: Orvibo Smart Home Database – precise ID and user data for home security and operations clients.
  • 4 billion records: Facebook and LinkedIn profiles data leak – exposed 4 terabytes, one of the largest breaches in history.

The Two Dimensions of Cybersecurity

There is no doubt the while the World Wide Web is fundamentally changing how we live, shop, receive medical care, invest our money – and so much more – there is also no doubt that the hazards are not only real, but also beyond anything we have ever witnessed in the development of business and industry.

While many resources are being invested into stopping online attacks, we must not overlook the ease at which data can be downloaded by the workstations, desktop computers, and laptops that are ubiquitous to our work environments. Simply plugging in a USB flash drive or using that same USB drive to charge our cell phones can wreak as much damage as the hackers on the dark web.

It’s time we focus as much on physical cybersecurity as we do on stopping threats that reside in the cloud.