Data breaches are on the rise.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of reported data breaches in 2019 came to 1,473. That’s a 17% increase from 2018’s 1,257. “The increase in the number of data breaches during 2019, while not surprising, is a serious issue,” ITRC CEO Eva Velasquez said. “The 2019 reporting year sees a return to the pattern of the ever-increasing number of breaches and volume of records exposed.”
In late 2019, Wawa said malware in its payment processing system may have been collecting debit and credit card information for months. Food delivery service DoorDash said “an unauthorized third party” accessed user data, impacting up to 4.9 million.
Worse, over the last 15 years, companies announced more than 10,000 data breaches publicly, as reported by Fortune contributor Chris Morris.
Embarrassingly enough, some of the biggest companies haven’t been too careful with your data. These three in particular need to step it up.
Stocks to Watch: Facebook (FB)
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is no stranger to data breaches, unfortunately.
After the Cambridge Analytica issue, Facebook announced a hacker breached the site, compromising 50 million user accounts. Hackers had the ability to not only access accounts, but also the services that users link with their login information.
In April 2019, Facebook app developers left hundreds of millions of user records exposed on cloud servers. And in December 2019, the company reportedly made changes that exposed 267 million users’ data.
Unfortunately, things could get even worse for Facebook users. “Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today. Combine that plenitude of personal data with storage technologies that are often misconfigured for public access, and the result is a long tail of data about Facebook users that continues to leak,” noted UpGuard.
Capital One (COF)
A Capital One (NYSE:COF) breach in 2019 compromised the personal information of more than 100 million people, including names, addresses, phone numbers and income figures. Yet, it was preventable, noted Houston Chronicle reporter Erin Douglas.
According to Douglas, experts said that penetration testing, which tests the strength of a firewall, could have helped prevent the attack.
What made the situation even more maddening at the time was the severe lack of solid communication. As Douglas also reported, “In the fact sheet posted on its website, the company writes that ‘no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were compromised.’ But three paragraphs down, Capital One explains that 80,000 linked bank account numbers of secured credit card customers were compromised.”
Quest Diagnostics (DGX)
Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) is no stranger to hacks either.
In June 2019, the company announced it found a breach impacting its billing and collections vendor, the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA). According to CNBC, it exposed the medical, financial and personal information of nearly 11.9 million people.
The breach also exposed credit card and bank account numbers, in addition to Social Security information. The breach from AMCA also impacted LabCorp, where the breach hit up to 7.7 million customers. However, upon learning of the issues, Quest and LabCorp did drop AMCA to prevent further incidents.
As of this writing, Ian Cooper did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.