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Cyber warfare fallout to businesses, customers predicted

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Businesses and consumers will become collateral damage in cyber conflicts among countries next year, while activists’ hacks will make a comeback, says a report.

“As nation-states continue to move their conflicts and espionage efforts to the digital world, we are likely to see more incidents aimed at stealing corporate and government secrets or disrupting military operations,” said a report issued Monday by Experian Data Breach Resolution, a unit of Costa Mesa, California-based Experian Information Solutions.

The “Third Annual 2016 Data Breach Industry Forecast” also predicts that following a scale back the last couple of years, “we are likely to see a resurgence of hacktivist activities” motivated by causing reputational damage to a company or cause.

Other predictions in the report are:

• PIN and EMV technology — the chips embedded in credit cards to make them more secure — will not be a “silver bullet” in addressing cyber breaches in part because many retailers and other merchants have not fully adopted them.

• While hacks of major healthcare companies will continue, smaller incidents caused by employee negligence will also continue to compromise millions of records each year.

• The U.S. Presidential candidates and campaigns will be attractive hacking targets.

Experian Data Breach Resolution vice president Michael Bruemmer said in a statement, “We saw different types of breaches this year, and one of the major mistakes companies often make is taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Unfortunately, the reality is that no data breach is the same, and a wide variety of unique circumstances need to be considered in a data breach response plan.”