Almost everything is computerized in our world today. While the internet and cloud have brought many benefits, things can (and do) go wrong.
There can be many reasons for losing your data. Both internal and external threats are prevalent. With data and computers, you can't expect everything to be perfect all the time, especially if you don't take necessary safety measures.
This year alone, there have been multiple recorded cases of data infringement. While affected companies strive to strengthen their data security, the perpetrators always find a better way to attack again. Hackers usually look for users' personal information like social security numbers, credit/debit card information, and plenty of other things floating around the internet.
So how do data breaches happen, and how can you keep your information safe?
WHAT IS A DATA BREACH?
Data breaching is a type of security infringement that causes an unauthorized discharge of private and sensitive information. Cyber criminals infiltrate the targeted company's secure networks and steal the business' and customers' private data.
Incidents such as this can expose personal information that can be used to gain access to other restricted network areas. Also, it is used to access financial information such as corporate secrets, credit card information, customer and intellectual property, software codes, and so on.
Effects of data breaches
- Money theft and loss of revenue
- Compromise of identity
- Intellectual property theft
- Regulatory fines
- Customer loss
- Damage to brand reputation
- Additional account compromises
WHAT CAUSES DATA BREACHES?
Data violations can occur when hackers gain access to your device or private information (on/offline). Data breaching can also happen as a result of losing a device that has unencrypted information. Both cases can be prevented through adequate safety measures.
As far as data security is concerned, it is always better to implement safety measures earlier on. Waiting to fix the problems after a data breach incident doesn't always work.
Common origins of a data breach
- Human error/process failure: Errors such as sending data via email to an incorrect recipient or loss of sensitive paperwork can lead to a data breach. Other human errors include sharing of account details, loss of vital unencrypted hardware, etc. which can also lead to data breaching.
- Poor passwords: Weak passwords are the most common loophole that hackers exploit to create a data breach. A brute force attack ranks highly as one of the top five methods of breaching data.
- Use of out-of-date software: Using security software that have not been updated over a long period can expose you to a security breach. Hackers work very hard to keep up-to-date with current security trends. As such, it is easier for them to break into older updates.
- Malware/insecure networks: Hackers often use phishing techniques to make you download malware through your email. Malware can come in many forms, including file attachments, fake links, and more.
Hackers can modify their malware so that they are less detectable by antivirus installations. Security breaches that involve malware can also happen when you connect to unsecured networks.
- Systematic attacks through business partners: Smaller companies may not afford more sophisticated data security installations for their businesses. Most of them don't give much attention to this area until they have grown into more prominent firms. Cybercriminals are aware of the vulnerabilities associated with data security at smaller companies. Attackers therefore target the smaller companies who are business partners of more prominent organizations. The attackers use this leverage to access various sensitive data of the larger organizations (who are the main target).
THREE SIMPLE WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR DATA
It is essential to be abreast of how to manage data breaching attacks as they are now a day-to-day trend. This is crucial, especially for large firms and other commercial businesses.
In this part, we'll going to guide you through three simple steps to prevent data loss in your company. Let's get started!
1. Implement access controls
The lack of access controls, poor usage, or misuse can create loopholes for commercial data breaches. Some cases are as a result of flaws in IT infrastructure. However, when there are no access controls, even the most sophisticated IT infrastructures can be useless. Cybercriminals can easily penetrate a system that has inadequate or no access control.
It is advisable to incorporate both physical and virtual access control measures for the best coverage.
Access controls help to direct who can access specific areas within your physical system or software, and when. In their absence, hackers can access your data undetected. Attackers can also steal, manipulate, release, and misuse data and sensitive information.
Access control is the first step to managing data breaches.
2. Secure identity documents
Hackers have developed a more low-tech means of gaining access to your company. These methods use identity documents like old bank statements, tax records, paystubs, etc. Attacks using information from these documents can be just be as damaging as a brute force attack, or worse.
It is crucial to secure any identity documents that can expose your company to a security breach. You may also destroy other materials that are in excess, such as bank statements, etc. If you use paper records, ensure they're contained in a locked file cabinet. You may also digitize these documents and secure them in an encrypted, password-protected file manager.
Also, if you ever need a document translated, use a reputable company like Online Writers Rating to be sure you don't give sensitive information to just anyone.
3. Keep your cyber security protections and training up to date
Cybercrime is evolving rapidly, and the perpetrators are constantly devising new ways to dupe unsuspecting victims.
Today, phishing emails are beginning to appear exceedingly authentic. There have been a few reported cases where even cyber security professionals have been tricked.
Other recent means of data breaching include crypto-jacking and advanced computer viruses. These breaching techniques are fast becoming popular as they have been used to dupe millions.
You've no doubt seen data breaches become more frequent. And as long as these attacks keep working, it will only get worse.
Expert predictions show that the issue of data breaching is only going to get worse. It is, therefore, vital that you can enforce the right procedures and safety measures in case of any threat. Studies also prove that prevention is better than trying to fix problems.
Data is the heartbeat of any company. As such, keeping up-to-date with cyber security news, latest threats, etc. and knowing how to implement the necessary security measures is necessary in the business world today.