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This month in data breaches: August edition

01 September, 2023

The kids might be on their break, but cybercriminals and scammers haven’t slowed down, with August witnessing multiple notable data breaches with widespread implications for organisations like yours.

Let's take a closer look at the causes of these breaches, the promptness of their handling, and explore potential strategies that could have averted these data breaches.

August's biggest data breaches

Northern Ireland Police

On the 8th of August, the Northern Ireland Police encountered a data breach, exposing sensitive information.

This breach, stemming from human error, has been deemed "monumental," given the elevated terror threat level in the region.

The fallout from this breach is profound, directly impacting thousands of officers' safety.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd has confirmed steps have been identified to avoid similar errors from happening again.

John Edwards, the Information Commissioner at the ICO, emphasised that this incident's gravity lies in demonstrating the substantial consequences that minor human errors can trigger.

This serves as a reminder of the importance of implementing robust measures for protecting personal data, especially in sensitive contexts.

The ICO is actively investigating the situation, collaborating with the PSNI to gauge the extent of data accessed during the exposure and devise effective mitigation strategies.

This event highlights the importance of ongoing, comprehensive personnel training to minimise the risk of human errors that can trigger such incidents.

The Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission recently admitted to a security breach that originally took place in in 2021 that only came to public attention ten months later.

The breach, attributed to a hostile cyber attack, went unnoticed for a year, compromising data from 40 million votes, including names and addresses of registered voters from 2014 to 2022.

The breach's origin, whether connected to a hostile state or a criminal cyber gang, remains uncertain.

Notably, private safety-related information and overseas voter addresses were untouched. The National Crime Agency is now prioritising efforts to bolster the electoral system's cyber resilience.

This incident underlines the vulnerability of sensitive research data.

The breach's prolonged invisibility highlights the necessity for secure monitoring and management practices.

It serves as a reminder that comprehensive cybersecurity measures are paramount for protecting against breaches and data compromises.

Protect your organisation with truly effective training

Join the thousands who've discovered how Bob's Business' security and compliance awareness training reduces risk, demonstrates improvement and builds cultures., an online service facilitating customised links for Discord channels, has fallen victim to a data breach effecting an estimated 760,000 users.

Sensitive details, including passwords, usernames, Discord IDs, and billing addresses, are believed to have been exposed.

The third-party service has now shut down as a result. The breach was discovered when data was offered for sale by a Discord user on a hacking forum.

The exposure of billing addresses is relevant only to those who purchased before the service adopted Stripe.

While the compromised passwords were encrypted to industry standards, users with non-unique passwords are advised to update them across other platforms where similar passwords are used.

This incident underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity practices and the need to ensure password uniqueness to minimise risks stemming from breaches.

For guidance on creating the perfect password, click to read our comprehensive guide.

What can your organisation learn from these breaches?

By understanding the underlying causes of these breaches and implementing preventive measures, organisations can significantly mitigate their exposure to such risks.

  1. Prioritise ongoing personnel training to minimise the risk of human errors.
  2. Maintain consistent security monitoring and management practices.
  3. Ensure password uniqueness to minimise risks stemming from breaches.
  4. Implement robust cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption protocols.
  5. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan and conduct drills for effective breach mitigation.

How Bob’s Business can help protect your organisation

As cyber threats intensify, ensuring that your employees receive effective cybersecurity training is more critical than ever.

As the UK's Most Trusted Cybersecurity Awareness Training Provider, we offer your organisation engaging and interactive eLearning modules perfectly created to empower your employees with the expertise to secure your organisation.

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Whether you’re looking for complete culture change, phishing simulations or compliance training, we have solutions that are tailor-made to fit for your organisation.

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