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2018’s Biggest Security Breaches and What to Worry about in 2019

The clock ticking its way to midnight. On New Year’s Eve, a lot of people hope only the best things will happen in 2019. There were though plenty of things to complain about last year. One of the biggest issues seemed to be the massive amount of security breaches involving digital companies and social media platforms.

After years of business being done with modern digital technologies and all the experience gained, it is mind-blowing that so many large companies still let major leaks and hacks happen. Some people have already decided to take their security into their own hands and research virtual private networks through VPNpro, but why is this necessary?

Let’s take a look back at some of the largest breaches in 2018

Quora

For those who have never used the platform, Quora is a highly popular question-and-answer website. Though the question: “Is Quora just a glorified Yahoo Answers” pops up on the website itself quite often, users are adamant that the high level of moderation makes Quora unique, more enjoyable, and full of better and more accurate discussions.

See: 773 million records with emails & plain text passwords leaked online

It’s interesting then that a website that prides itself for effective moderation was able to fall victim to a heavy security breach that revealed the sensitive data of 100 million users. This attack showed a major weakness in Quora’s security as more than just names and passwords were stolen.

An investigation revealed that users’ names, emails, usernames, IP addresses, encrypted passwords, account settings, personalization data, public actions, content and even data from linked websites were leaked.

Facebook

This was one of the most talked about breaches. Facebook took a real financial hit when it was discovered that 30 million usernames, contact details, gender info, birthdates, recent locations and much, much more had been leaked in a targeted attack. The attack actually took place in 2017 but didn’t get discovered until 2018.

The data leak hit Facebook hard. The share price of the company fell 25% from last year.

Google Plus

Google is another company that is far too large and experienced to allow major data hacks to happen, but 2018 showed us that no one is secure anymore. Google Plus was already having major issues with a lack of user interest. In fact, the social media platform is set to dissolve in April of 2019.

But as it prepared to transition into its last year of existence, Google Plus was hit with a data breach. The platform suffered a big information leak involving 52.5 million user profile.

Looking into 2019

Now that 2018 has come to a close many of us are hoping the new year will bring in higher standards in many things, including digital security. Surely, after all the huge hacks in 2018, companies should learn and ensure the safety of their users through advanced security measures.

Well, don’t be so sure. It looks like 2019 might be another win for cybercriminals.

In fact, Facebook is already dealing with fall out of another privacy breach controversy that came to light in the last few weeks of 2018.  On the same day, Facebook apologized over the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal, it was revealed that Facebook was collecting phone numbers and texts from Android device users.

Though the platform argues the users intentionally or otherwise, approved Facebook to collect this data, many are not impressed. Especially when Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, made the statement that the company doesn’t deserve to have users’ data if they can’t protect it.

The entire situation is indicative of the times we live in. Although it is important for companies to protect users’ data, they fail again and again. This is why it is vital for users to take their digital security into their own hands.

See: Dark Web hacker selling 126M accounts stolen from new data breaches

In addition to strong passwords, regular software updates, and backups, the easiest and most efficient way to protect yourself online is to use a VPN. The use of a VPN is vital as it protects all data while leaving behind no trace of user identity. So, even if a company gets hacked, user data will be useless to a cybercriminal as users’ IP addresses and personal information is encrypted.

There are many great VPN services to choose from. NordVPN is extremely popular for its reasonable price, high ratings, and military grade security functions. It is never too early to consider your digital safety. If 2018 is any indicator, we need the protection now more than ever.

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