Organizations operating in the transportation field have leaked consumers’ data more than most other industries, reveals the latest research by NordPass. Since late 2019, almost 280 transportation organizations have suffered data breaches during which various consumer data (e.g., email addresses, passwords, and usernames) was leaked. This places the transportation industry in the top 10 among sectors with the most client data leaks.
To conduct this study, NordPass partnered with independent third-party researchers who investigated which companies in the transportation and other industries in terms of their size, type (i.e., private, non-profit), and origin are failing to secure consumers’ data the most.
Other Industries Failing with Clients’ Data
Researchers found that entertainment companies are the worst in ensuring clients’ data. However, technology companies are also not much better, with this industry having experienced similarly many cybersecurity incidents and revealing clients’ data as a result.
Firms operating in retail, business services, and the education fields are also responsible for a significant portion of consumers’ data leaks worldwide.
Most Affected Countries
Of transportation organizations worldwide that are responsible for exposing clients’ data to hackers, almost a third are based in the United States (US). With US companies leading the list, the United Kingdom (UK) and France follow with 31 and 25 businesses respectively.
“In a constantly challenged cyber environment, businesses no longer have the luxury to store consumer data in plain text on Excel or otherwise neglect basic cybersecurity practices. To avoid financial and reputational risks, companies should consider it their personal duty to ensure clients’ data is secured against online threats, even if the legislation is not there yet,” says Tomas Smalakys, the CTO of NordPass.
Private companies are the number one target
In terms of organization’s type, private companies were of most interest to hackers. Based on the study, they make up 60% of organizations that had their clients’ data stolen. Less so, cybercriminals have also targeted solopreneur businesses (6%), public companies (6%), and other types of organizations.
Researchers have also concluded that smaller companies are more likely to experience a data breach and lose clients’ data as a result. In the transportation industry, companies with up to 50 employees had their clients’ data compromised the most.
How to Secure Clients’ Data?
Despite intensifying cyber risks, many transportation organizations, especially smaller ones, lack awareness on why they should and how they should secure clients’ data.
Setting up a cyber resilience plan and organizing employee training could be a good start, says Smalakys. Additionally, companies should consider network security solutions, such as business VPNs, that restrict unauthorized access to computing systems. They have proved to be an effective solution against malware and other malicious attacks.
Password management is another field to improve, says Smalakys. While many cybersecurity incidents happen simply due to compromised credentials, even the world’s biggest companies do not abandon poor password management practices, reveals an earlier study by NordPass. Up to 32% of their passwords contain a direct reference to the company, which is a gift to hackers.
To address this issue, Smalakys recommends adopting password managers, which allow people within the organization to store, manage, and share passkeys in an end-to-end encrypted space. In addition, companies can try out passkeys, the new alternative method of online authentication, currently considered the most secure alternative to passwords. Progressive companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, PayPal, and KAYAK, already allow account access with passkeys.
Methodology: The study was conducted in partnership with independent researchers specializing in research of cybersecurity incidents. They looked for databases leaked from various organizations and analyzed them based on various criteria, such as country, industry, business type, size of the company, and data items’ type. The research represents the breaches that happened between December 2019 and July 2023.