Eight days into 2016 and we're already hearing news of the year's first serious online security breach.

The unfortunate company at the center of the incident is Time Warner Cable (TWC), which says that up to 320,000 of its customers "may" have had their emails and passwords stolen, according to Reuters.

The telecommunications giant says the FBI informed it of the apparent breach. As a precaution, the company is now contacting affected customers to advise them to change their account passwords.

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Details on the incident are sketchy at the current time, with TWC unable to explain how the data was stolen. At this stage the company is only saying it was nabbed either using malware inadvertently downloaded during phishing attacks, or through hacks on other companies that hold TWC customer data. In other words, the company doesn't believe its own servers were compromised.

But however it happened, it's still lousy news for 320,000 TWC customers.

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Such stolen data often ends up being sold on the dark Web, as TWC rival Comcast recently discovered.

The company in November reset the passwords of hundreds of thousands of its customers when it discovered that their account details were being sold on an illicit online marketplace.

Any security breach is a major embarrassment for a targeted company, but with hackers become increasingly skillful, it's becoming ever trickier for firms to protect their data, though past breaches have shown that some can clearly make a lot more effort.

Barring a miracle, it's certain that 2016 will see plenty more incidents like TWC's, so brace yourselves. And do what you can yourself by managing your passwords in the most effective way possible and keeping your antivirus software up to date.