Californians most vulnerable to fall victim to data breaches

Several California employers have had data stolen over the past year

Californians most vulnerable to fall victim to data breaches

It seems Californians need some more guidance when it comes to their online activities.

More than 2.3 million data breaches occurred throughout the United States, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands between 2017 and 2021, generating a total financial loss of $20.1 billion, according to the Forbes Advisor.

Among U.S. states, California topped the list. A total of 325,291 victims were in the state during that period, and they lost more than $3.7 billion to these crimes. Florida (198,830 victims), Texas (179,217 victims) and New York (141,170) came in at far second, third and fourth, respectively.

Read more: 30% of employees unaware of their role in cybersecurity efforts

Thousands of Californians fell victim and lost huge sums through the following:

  • 14,925 victims of compromised email accounts lost more than $1.18 billion
  • 12,205 victims of online romance schemes lost $516.2 million.
  • 5,270 victims of investment scams lost nearly $440 million.
  • 11,365 victims of real estate fraud lost $176.4 million.
  • 31,742 victims of personal data theft lost $163.4 million.

California companies that have had data stolen this year and last year include Blue Shield of Southern California; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Southern California; Lending Tree; Ernest Packaging Solutions; and Professional Finance Co, according to a SiliconValley.com report, citing Forbes Advisor.

Previously, cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies warned of the danger posed by cyber-attacks aimed at stealing accounts on social media platforms because of the great value of the information recorded on them for cybercriminals.

The number of unique phishing web sites globally soared to 245,771 in January 2021, an all-time high, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). It dropped to 158,898 in February but once again rose to 207,208 in March. Attacks on web applications also rose by 800 per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to a report from CDN and cloud security provider CDNetworks.

Here are some tips that employers can share with their employees to ensure their safety online, according to Telappliant, a managed services provider of IT, telephony, and internet solutions:

  1. Protect your passwords.
  2. Keep an eye out for lurkers or hackers that are very skilled in going undetected in your workplace.
  3. Lock your screen before someone else does.
  4. Use a shared drive or cloud software to store important and sensitive data, and make sure you backup your work to a cloud service.
  5. Be careful with links.
  6. Update your computer regularly.
  7. Stay away from public networks.
  8. Report to IT any suspicious activity.

After taking a nosedive in 2020, HR tech spending increased 57% in 2021, according to the 2021-2022 HR Systems Survey by Sapient Insights Research Group in Atlanta. An average of 16 HR systems were utilized by most organizations last year, up from 10 systems in 2020 and nine in 2019, according to the report.

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