One of the most prolific hackers of the past year – The Dark Overlord (TDO) – welcomed the New Year with a few sizable data leaks. In 2016, TDO carved out a space for themselves in the stolen data market by targeting databases full of protected health information (PHI) from private and public healthcare organizations alike.

But as 2016 came to a dramatic close, TDO broadened their reach, targeting manufacturing firms, insurance companies, and the defense community, claiming to have “taken an interest in contractors who have worked with the United States military, for no reason at all except they usually have confidential data and because it would be fun to up the ante.”

After releasing a limited amount of stolen files and videos, TDO gave their victims an ultimatum: pay up, or the leaks will continue. Several of the companies have adopted the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” stance, which TDO said would result in a full, public data leak.

As sensitive data increasingly becomes weaponized against its owners, more and more companies will be forced to choose between protecting their private information and reputation or padding the pockets of criminals – an incredibly difficult decision for anyone. Unfortunately, the latter is all too frequent.

ONE MORE THING: HACK WARS

The Force wasn’t strong enough to prevent hackers from stealing customers’ credit card information from Topps, a creator of iconic collectible trading cards. Topps notified their customers via email that someone gained unauthorized access to their systems on October 12th, and stole credit card information from purchases made between July 30, 2016 and October 12, 2016. With the excitement surrounding the most recent Star Wars movie, this novelty company is an unsurprising target for hackers.