Recent cyberattacks stress the importance of data privacy

  • by Arlo Gilbert
  • · posted on August 11, 2022
  • · 3 min read
Recent cyberattacks stress the importance of data privacy

In this edition of Privacy Insider, I wanted to draw attention to one of our stories in particular — the recent cyberattacks launched against Cloudflare and Twilio.

In both cases, the attackers contacted employees and their family members on their work and home phone numbers, sending text messages disguised as company communications. The messages persuaded employees to log in to a fake site, claiming that their account info or schedule had changed. Once the employees logged in, the site would download and install remote desktop software and harvest their login credentials.

Both Twilio and Cloudflare employees fell for the phishing attack, but Cloudflare managed to avoid having the attackers gain access to their systems. That’s because Cloudflare security requires employees to use physical hardware keys to log into their systems — which some undoubtedly thought was a little paranoid until now.

These attacks are particularly noteworthy considering the security-conscious nature of both companies. Twilio provides communication and authentication solutions, while security lies at the heart of all of Cloudflare’s products and services. If they’re vulnerable to cyberattacks, then what company isn’t?

That’s just it — nobody is impervious to cyberattacks. Companies can and should invest in their cybersecurity, but so long as they’re staffed by imperfect, fallible human beings, hackers will always be able to socially engineer their way into internal systems. The best we can do is reduce the odds of their success (such as by requiring the use of physical hardware keys and other security measures) and mitigate the damage they can do once inside (such as by employing healthy data privacy practices).

Breaches are a common way for businesses' poor data privacy practices to come to light. Just keep your eye on this newsletter — you’ll see plenty of headlines where companies get hit by penalties after exposing customer data to cybercriminals.

Best,
Arlo


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About The Author · Arlo Gilbert

Arlo Gilbert is the CEO & co-founder of Osano. An Austin, Texas native, he has been building software companies for more than 20 years in categories including telecom, payments, procurement, and compliance. In 2005 Arlo invented voice commerce, he has testified before congress on technology issues, and is a frequent speaker on data privacy rights.