The problem is big. It's getting bigger. Here's one summary of what's been happening:
What's the problem here? Is it really so hard to achieve cybersecurity?
I suggest that the issue is clear and simple: the people in charge of keeping your information safe are not motivated to keep it safe. The consequences to them personally of failing to keep it safe are minimal, and so they simply don't take the trouble to do it.
Motivation and consequences
Whether we like it or not, people are motivated on the positive side by rewards, and on the negative side by punishments. If you see people acting in a certain way, you ask, what is the incentive that is encouraging that behavior? The incentive could be positive (you get something good) or negative (something bad that used to happen when you did that thing no longer happens). A great deal of human behavior can be explained by personal incentives: rewards and punishments.
Incentives in Cybersecurity
So what happens to people in the companies when one of these big data thefts happen? Are the front-line drudges punished but the executives given a free pass? Do the people where the buck supposedly stops lose their jobs but the worker bees who were just executing according to a bad plan let off lightly? Answer: there's some bad publicity, but no one loses their job, no one's pay is docked, nothing!
If no one at the companies even went through the motions of trying to keep your data secure, the publicity might be bad. But that's what regulations are for -- CYA. The company claims it was following all the regulations that are supposed to keep data secure. So how is it their fault if, in spite of all their excellent, by-the-book efforts, the data walked out the door anyway? Case closed. The company and all its employees, from top to bottom, are off the hook!
Incentives and Motivations
When a company loses money and market share, the CEO is likely to lose his job. When a person in accounting delivers bad data, they're likely to lose their job. When a department does really well, the people in charge are frequently given bonuses or promotions. They get better jobs and make more money. In most industries, sales people are incentivized by commissions -- if they sell more, they make more money. It's everywhere. To encourage good behavior, reward it. To discourage bad behavior, punish it.
Everyone says they're concerned about protecting your data. They use as evidence the fact that they conform to all relevant regulations and spend lots of money on security. So if, in spite of all this, the data is lost, it can't possibly be their fault!
Does that mean the regulations themselves are bad or ineffective? No one is claiming that (except for me and a few other voices in the wilderness), but think about this: when has any regulator lost anything because they were doing a bad job at regulating? The very notion boggles the mind!
Bottom line: they have no incentive to protect your data! We know this because, when people are properly motivated to get a job done, they somehow find a way to get it done. The fact that they are unmotivated and have bad theories practically guarantees failure.
Lack of motivation.
Therefore, cyberthefts will continue unabated until this changes. Q.E.D.