What to expect from data breaches in 2016

As we reach the close of 2015, it is fair to say that it has been a pretty dramatic, and in some cases devastating, year in terms of data breaches. And, as the landscape of data breaches continues to evolve, business and organisations are going to need to stay ahead of trends and developments to make sure they are able to respond to any kind of security incident. With that being said, in this post we are going to take a look at what you can expect from data breaches in 2016. After all, being prepared is imperative.


One of the main trends we are expecting to see in the coming year is hacktivism. This is something we have already had a taste of throughout 2015. Hacktivist activities involve hacking into a company’s network for the purpose of causing reputational damage as opposed to financial gains. When we think about data breaches, we tend to assume that it is about cyber criminals who want to get their hands on the likes of medical records for the purpose of selling them on or bank account details to steal money, but that is not always the case.

You only have to look at the Ashley Madison data breach this year. The company, which is an online dating site for married people who want to cheat, was hacked by a group of cyber criminals that threatened to release the details of Ashley Madison users if the company did not take down the ‘immoral’ website. Therefore, any organisation that has a controversial or polarising mission needs to carefully consider the potential of a data breach of the hacktivist kind and put an incident response plan in place for such a scenario.

Aside from this, we are likely to see more data breaches that are aimed at stealing government and corporate secrets, as well as attacks with the purpose of disrupting military operations. This is bound to occur as a result of the rising cyber conflicts among countries, and, unfortunately, it is likely that businesses and consumers will be collateral damage from such scenarios.

This is because IP business addresses are likely to be stolen and the confidential information of millions of individuals could be exposed. This is why everyone needs to be diligent when they are using a connected device, and thus all individuals must adopt effective security habits and they must monitor all of their accounts on a frequent basis to ensure that fraud is caught early.

To conclude, in 2016 it is likely that we are going to see cyber attacks of a different nature, and with varying purposes. From stealing government secrets to destroying the reputation of a controversial organisation, cyber criminals are no longer only targeting companies for financial gain, and this means we need to be more adaptive in our approach.