Top Kansas City Cybersecurity Breaches in 2019


Online communications have reshaped the landscape of modern business forever, enabling companies to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

But while the opportunities created by the digitalization of modern business are increasing, it should be noted that the cyber threats are, too. Cybercriminals are continually devising new and advanced ways of breaching company data, and Kansas City has certainly seen its fair share in recent years.

Here are four of the biggest cybersecurity breaches in Kansas City from 2019 and what your Missouri business can learn from them:

1. Ring

Home security provider Ring faced a major cybersecurity breach and court case in 2019 after failing to adequately protect their systems, consequently allowing hackers to gain unauthorized access to the home security systems of several homeowners across America.

The cyberattacks enabled hackers to spy on victims through home surveillance cameras. Known cases of harassment included a family in Mississippi being subjected to racial slurs while another family in Texas were threatened with physical danger if they did not pay a ransom. Both cases formed a significant part of the subsequent lawsuits, in which the Ring faced severe consequences.

Ring’s negligence meant victims could be spied on in their own homes, resulting in a range of security threats ranging from stolen data and insights to knowledge of when the properties were free to be burgled. Unsurprisingly, the federal lawsuit gained a lot of coverage and has harmed their reputation.

2. Hy-Vee

Customers of Hy-Vee Stores fell victim to a number of cyberattacks in 2019 as cybercriminals successfully infected payment facilities at fuel pumps, restaurants, and drive-thru coffee shops. The data breach targeted personal data including card payment details to steal funds from victim accounts.

Hy-Vee’s two-month internal investigation determined that malware had hit various point-of-sale terminals. Cyber attackers then stole money from accounts inconspicuously, with many victims remaining unaware of the threat. The company was subsequently forced to clean up the systems from the malware before increasing the security facilities with help from local cybersecurity experts.

The damage wasn’t identified until August 2019, and was eventually dated back to late 2018, highlighting the severity of the problem. Thousands of clients were affected across no fewer than eight different states, while thousands more had to check their accounts for suspicious payments.

3. The Community

Cryptocurrency has become big news in the world of investment and has naturally been hit by several cyberattacks and scandals. A hacking ring known as The Community initiated major cyber crimes in 2019, stealing upwards of $2.4 million from accounts across Kansas City, the United States, and worldwide.

A 21-year-old Warrensburg man was identified as one of the main culprits. The advanced cyber attacking strategies could take control of a victim’s number, subsequently gaining access to their email, cloud storage, and cryptocurrency. So, in addition to stealing crypto coins, they could gain personal data relating to bank accounts and a host of additional features.

4. Russell Stover Chocolates

On August 30, 2019, it was found that Russell Stover Chocolates had fallen victim to cybercriminal activities affected customers at 28 stores across Kansas City and the wider Missouri region. The data breach was another where malware had been infected into point-of-sale terminals and systems.

The data breach had occurred for a six-month period between early February and early August. While the company found no evidence to suggest clients had suffered theft, the severity of the situation did harm their reputation and resulted in several new cybersecurity systems being implemented to prevent repeat episodes. Concerned customers were advised to speak to their banks.

Russell Stover Chocolates’ internal investigations took several weeks to complete while there were dozens of cases to hit businesses throughout Missouri and across the nation in the early parts of 2019.

What Can Kansas City Businesses Do To Stay Protected?

The above breaches underline the need to take cybersecurity seriously in 2020 and beyond. In many of these cases, the companies were completely unaware that hackers were exploiting their customers’ privacy and data, which is often the case in cyber crime. By partnering with a reliable Managed Service Provider who makes cybersecurity a top priority for your business, you can ensure threats don’t go undetected and result in a data breach.

At Cenetric, we work to build comprehensive cybersecurity strategies that can protect your business from increasingly advanced threats. We offer 24/7 system monitoring and threat detection to ensure that nothing falls by the wayside and no weakness is left unpatched.

If you want to learn more about our managed services, contact us today at (913) 210-1950.

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