Data Breaches: Who is behind them, why they do it, and how to protect your data

Contributed by David McDaniel
In today’s increasingly connected world, personal data on nearly every person is held by many organizations from financial institutions, educational institutions, government agencies, credit reporting firms, commercial establishments, and more. These large troves of information are often the target of attackers. As a result, data breaches have become a normal part of the modern news cycle. Rarely is there much of a lull between stories of these entities having data compromised by malicious actors. In this research paper, the author begins by exploring some of the largest data breaches to date. In the second part of the paper, the author explores the people, organizations, and nation states behind these breaches and strives to answer the question as to who they are and why they perform these malevolent acts. In the third and final part of the paper, the author provides general best practice recommendations in order to prevent an individual or organization from falling victim to these actors. It should be noted that this paper was not written to be a sole source of information on any one subject but should guide the reader in their additional research for more detailed information on these topics.
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