Cybersecurity News and Notes – August 29, 2016

In Case You Missed It: Sometimes data breaches crop-up in the most unlikely of places.  Last week we learned that the vendor that handles fish and hunting licenses for the states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington was hacked.  The breach potentially exposed the following information for those with fishing or hunting licenses in those northwest states: names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, dates of birth, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.  California uses the same vendor for its fishing and hunting licenses, but California determined that it was not affected by the breach because it requires more stringent security measures.

News of Note:  Speaking of California, the state’s legislature is considering a bill that would expand the type of information covered by California’s data security law.  California’s current law covers, for instance, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and medical information.  The bill would add geolocation and biometric data, tax identification numbers, passport numbers, military identification numbers, and employment identification numbers.

Practice Tip of the Week:  Ransomware—where hackers encrypt and hold your data hostage—is on the rise, having quadrupled over last year.  And once you have been hit with ransomware, there is little that can be done other than pay the ransom and hope the hackers release your information.  Other than generally strengthening your security measures to prevent such attacks, one of the best defenses against ransomware is regular and fulsome backups.  Backups will ensure access to your data even in the event of a ransomware attack.  But make sure the backups are stored in a secure and separate location, lest the backups also be lost in the ransomware attack.

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