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Cyber Liability Disaster: Tens of Millions of Adobe Users Hacked

Cyber Liability Disaster: Tens of Millions of Adobe Users Hacked

A hack affecting 38 million Adobe users illustrates the high costs associated with data breaches and how IT professionals can manage those risks with Data Breach Insurance.

Thursday, January 9, 2014/Categories: cyber-liability

A few weeks ago, the software giant Adobe disclosed that it had been hacked, but only recently has it revealed the full extent of the data breach: 38 million users accounts were hacked and the source code for Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and Cold Fusion (a web app) was stolen.

A loss like this is hard to quantify, but between suffering damage to its brand, having to face lawsuits, and rebuilding its products, Adobe will be paying for this data breach for years to come. Let's look at some of the specific ways Adobe is already paying for the cost of a data breach.

Data Breaches Mean Huge Credit Monitoring Costs

For any customers affected by the data breach, Adobe offered free credit monitoring for a year. This is a fairly standard practice and smart one. It comforts customers and helps prevent identity theft, which can prevent lawsuits. But it's not cheap. With millions of users affected, Adobe could end up paying millions just for these credit-monitoring services.

After a data breach, Cyber Liability Insurance can cover the cost of data protection services for your customers. Without it, you'd have to foot the bill yourself.

The Aftershock: Adobe's Ongoing Data Security Threats

After having the source code for two of its main programs (Photoshop and Acrobat) exposed, Adobe and its computer programmers are rushing to find ways to protect users from potential threats down the road.

What does it mean when someone steals your source code? From a cyber liability perspective, it's a total disaster. Source code is a program's basic code. When hackers have access to this code, it's like having a blueprint for future attacks. They can use the source code to find potential weaknesses in Adobe products and build malware to exploit them.

Each year Adobe sells millions of licenses to Photoshop and Acrobat, which means that in addition to the 38 million accounts that were initially hacked, millions more users can be affected later on.

All in all, this is going to cost Adobe as it will have to divert more of its resources to prevent future attacks, rebuild its products, and pay for lawsuits.

Data Security Solutions: How Can Data Be Protected?

Adobe is a huge company with many more resources than an independent contractor computer consultant or small-business owner – what can we learn from its mistakes? There are four lessons you should take away from this massive data breach.

  1. Data breaches are expensive. With the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. totaling more than $5 million, small businesses can't afford to be hacked.
  2. Encrypt your data. Adobe's customer data was encrypted, which means that though hackers downloaded it, they may not have been able to read it. Encrypting your data can save you millions of dollars.
  3. There are many costs associated with data breaches. Data breach notifications, credit monitoring costs, and a host of other related expenses all come with a security breach.
  4. Cyber insurance pays for many things. Data Breach Insurance can cover many of the costs of a data breach, including data breach notification, credit monitoring, lawsuits, crisis management, and even the cost of running new advertising or public relations campaigns after a cyber attack.

Curious how much Data Breach Insurance would cost your business? Use our online risk analysis tool, and you can view an estimate on the cost of comprehensive business insurance in less than a minute. 

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