DoorDash Data Breach
The food delivery company DoorDash was compromised on May 4th 2019. The company said the data breach exposed the data of 4.9 million users, delivery workers and merchants. Fortunately, users who made accounts after April 5, 2018 were not affected by the breach. However, the breach exposed names, phone numbers, order histories, email addresses, and password information. DoorDash said the breach happened through a third-party service. If it can happen to them it can happen to anybody and too often, it does. DoorDash said in light of the hack, it took additional security steps to secure user data. It added security layers around the data and brought in outside consultants and experts to further identify and repel potential threats. The company also said hackers obtained the last four digits of users’ credit card information. The customers’ full card numbers were not obtained, nor were the card verification values (CVV). The hackers also managed to steal the driver’s license numbers of about 100,000 delivery workers.
DoorDash uses a method of encrypting data called Hashing. Hashing is taking a way of representing data in the form of a series of symbols. Moreover, it allows you to take an input, say a password, of any length and turn it into a string of characters that turn out to be the same length. There are algorithms, like SHA1 and SHA256, that do this for you and generate unique hashes. They will take a name like Thomas Johnson and turn it into something that resembles “aeb4048c96b086739900f4f4144cd1f5”. The good thing about these hashing algorithms is that there’s no way of reversing the process. If someone had access to the hash, they couldn’t reverse engineer the name. At least in theory.
There is are some methods of getting the non-hashed password or information hackers often exploit, sometimes quite successfully. One of these methods is called a brute force attack or a dictionary attack. The hackers take a long list of passwords and run it through the appropriate algorithm. Then the hacker looks at the hash they wish to recover and look for it in the list of hashes. Like looking for a number in the phone book when all you have is a name. If they find a hash in the list that matches the one they have, they simply look at the plain text version on their list. If you couldn’t tell, this is a very intensive process. However, experienced hackers will use huge word lists and run them through their systems. These systems can analyze passwords in a matter of seconds.
Hash collisions happen when two sets of data correspond to the same hash. This is very rare but useful. The hacker would be able to use a series of characters to access your account since it generates the same hash as your password. Doordash assured its users and the cyber community that the hashing routine used salt to increase its complexity. No, not actual salt. “Salt” in cryptography simply means adding random data to the input (the password going into the algorithm) so the hash is unique. This decreases the chances of a brute force attack or a hash collision.
Adding Salt to a Hash
Hashing isn’t full proof. It’s very deterministic, meaning a certain input will always give you the same output. Thomas Johnson as an input will always produce the same hash. So, if two people coincidentally use the same input for a password, they will both generate the same hash. Adding salt to a hash means you take a random variable of a specific length and add it to the input. So, even if the input itself isn’t unique, the variable makes the hash unique. Metaphorically adding salt gives the hash a more distinctive flavor. Despite the fact DoorDash took these extra precautions to encrypt their users passwords, experts suggest that any user affected by the breach should change their passwords to something as complex and secure as possible.
Unfortunately, data breaches like the one in DoorDash occur fairly often. The more sensitive the information the more lucrative the hack will seem to a cybercriminal. That’s why the healthcare, accounting and financial services industry are often targets of cyber-attacks. 71 percent of breaches in 2019 were financially motivated
, meaning hackers are looking to get information they can use to enrich themselves. Then, company that regularly deals with clients’ financial information would be a prime target. Doordash has credit card information to facilitate purchases but accountants and financial advisers have much more specific information.
That’s why managed IT for Finance and accounting is so important. Companies take their IT infrastructure for granted, often times, because they see it as an extra expense not a necessity. However, security is an expectation not a luxury. Providing managed IT for accounting and fiance is mostly about planning with compliance and security in mind. That’s why agencies regulate these types of companies . Many compliance laws force industries like fiance and accounting to maintain high levels of security. That way, financial information isn’t compromised. Yes a thief is blamed for a robbery, but if the bank has poor security and didn’t install security cameras to cut costs, the bank is just as much to blame. This metaphor might simplify things a bit too much, but sadly that is the case for many industries. They don’t invest in newer cyber security
because they’re too small to get attacked. Other times companies will think the security measures they take are good enough.
Small Sized Businesses are More at Risk
If a business owner reads this article and thinks to themselves, “I’m not Doordash, I run a small accounting firm,” they’re sadly mistaken. As a matter of fact, 43 percent of data breaches in 2019 targeted small businesses. People only take notice of the breaches occurring in large companies like Doordash and Capital One because those make interesting news articles and blogs. More often, it’s the smaller companies that suffer the greatest losses. 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months to a year of a cyberattack
. This is a number taken from the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance. Most of these breaches occur because a low level employee does something wrong. They open an email that contains malware, they don’t secure their passwords, they expose valuable information on social media, they are victims of an elaborate phishing scam. Nerds Support works as a financial cloud provider giving extensive training, security protocols, policies and procedures within the company. Now, notice how they published a blog regarding the incident. They didn’t have to do this. DoorDash could’ve gone to the press but they knew it was important to retain a sense of confidence in the company. The company needed to tell as many people as possible that everything was taken care of. That’s obviously because perception builds trust and trust is the currency that builds companies.
A Data-Breach in Trust
If a breach occurs it’s highly likely that confidence in the companies ability to secure sensitive data will decrease. Restaurants have gone out of business because a customer found insects or filth in their foods. Companies fail more often from a decline in trust than anything else. Nerd Support provides FINRA approved cloud storage to financial firms because keeping with industry compliance creates a safer digital environment for both the company and its clients. If someone is looking for a firm and sees it’s following all regulatory and security standards, then it’s a subconscious relief that builds confidence in the firm. That being said, IT solutions for finance differ from the solutions other companies need, but all industries are regulated to some degree.
What can you do to Avoid a Breach? Create a business continuity plan
. This will mitigate the impact of a breach and ensure your business survives and recovers. DoorDash has one, which is why it immediately took steps to bounce back from the attack. The company added new security measures to their systems, hired outside consultants, and took to social media to update everyone on the status of the company. There is no doubt the company discussed all of this at some point in it’s history. This was a swift and comprehensive move on DoorDash’s part because they knew the longer it takes to act after a disaster the bigger the losses. Delete all
emails, links online posts that you suspect might lead to a virus or data-breach. These are how many cybercriminals steal information. Update and secure all
software. This is often overlooked but it can be one of the best defenses against malware and viruses. Encrypt sensitive data
. Like DoorDash, encrypting sensitive data will make access to it difficult at worst and nearly impossible at best. Encrypting data is just converting data into another form. Like hashing a password by turning it into a series of numbers and letters. Nerds Support encrypt its partner’s data and store it in a highly secure data center. We focus more on software encryption but you can also encrypt hardware. DoorDash is just an example of what can befall any company in today’s world. Companies experience hacks, data leaks, and personal data’s constantly stolen. The threat is more visible to the public now as larger companies fall victim to attacks. Cyber-crime is the world’s highest paying business, estimated in the trillions of dollars. Business owners need to take action. If they don’t do anything, they’re just waiting to be next