In this day and age, everyone has access to computers, mobile devices, and the Internet. As a result, there are now numerous entry points for data to slip through. For example, devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector prove that the world is slowly favouring convenience over security. This ultimately leads to a lack of data privacy as a data breach.
A data breach is a cybercrime wherein a hackers exposes sensitive, confidential, or protected information to unauthorised individuals. It means that files within a data breach are viewed, shared, and spread without the owner’s permission. It can cause extensive damage to companies and organisations, sometimes even stopping their operations.
Anyone can be at risk of a sudden data breach – from average individuals to multinational corporations. And anyone can put other people at risk if they act irresponsibly.
How Data Breaches Happen
One of the most common causes of a data breach is an intentional attack, but other reasons may come to play. Here’s how they typically occur:
Although unlikely, data breaches could happen due to an insider’s irresponsibility. For example, an employee might have used a co-worker’s computer device to read files without having the necessary authorisation permissions. Despite the lack of sensitive data transfer, it’s still a data breach because unauthorised personnel could access the information.
Whenever someone purposefully accesses and shares sensitive data with the agenda of causing harm to an individual or organisation, it’s considered a data breach. This is because a malicious insider might have legitimate access to the data, but they intend to use the information in nefarious ways.
Misplaced And Stolen Devices
If employees lose their work laptops or tablets, the data within their devices might fall into the wrong hands. And if the data hasn’t been encrypted, it will result in a data breach.
Cybercriminals are known for attacking organisations to commit data breaches. This is the most common cause of data breaches, and it often leads to detrimental results such as bankruptcy, loss of customer trust, and a full stop to a company’s operation. Hackers’ ultimate intentions range from committing identity fraud, hacking into financial data, and selling sensitive information online – most commonly on the deep web.
Malicious Techniques Cybercriminals Use To Breach Data
Because data breaches most commonly result from cyberattacks, you need to know how hackers access unauthorised data. Here are the most popular methods being used today:
Phishing scams fool normal users into clicking random links and advertisements that inject malicious code into your device. Hackers typically pose as credible people or organisations to deceive users like you.
Brute Force Attacks
Sometimes, hackers take their time and invest in software tools to identify your passwords. This attack meticulously works through all the possible passwords you might have until they guess the correct one. Hackers even hijack devices similar to yours using malware infections to speed up the entire hacking process. So if your password is weak, chances are, hackers will crack it in a few seconds.
Did you know that your device’s operating system, hardware, software, servers, and network often have security flaws? Hackers use these vulnerabilities to crack into your device and access sensitive data. And more often than not, you won’t find the infection until it’s too late for you to recover files and, sometimes, even the device.
How To Effectively Prevent Data Breach
Keep Your Security Software Up-To-Date
When it comes to keeping your data safe from the hands of hackers, it’s vital to ensure that all security software is updated and regularly patched. Doing so will prevent weak spots that hackers may exploit.
Constant Risk Assessment
Carrying out vulnerability checks to review, address, and solve risks is an essential step in data protection. It would be best to consider all viable aspects such as remote access for employees, data storage, policies, and procedures for a data breach-free organisation.
Encrypt All Data
All sensitive information should be encrypted immediately, including customer and client transactions. And if possible, you should encrypt your backup just in case anything goes wrong with the initial encryption.
Educate All Employees
No matter what happens, it’s essential to eradicate ignorance regarding data security. You can do this by educating all employees and helping them understand the importance of:
Having strong passwords
Regularly updating their anti-virus, firewall, and security software
Avoiding phishing scams
Ensure The Safety Of Your Third-Party’s Data Security
If your organisation is in partnership with a third-party vendor, be wary because it may pose some cybersecurity risks. With this in mind, you should ask them to constantly risk evaluations on their system so that you can efficiently resolve any vulnerabilities.
Only Store What You Need
As an organisation, you should keep track of all information within your company. And to lessen your chances of experiencing a data breach, you should only store the files you need and dispose of all unnecessary files properly.
Data is one of the most important factors that fuel today’s economy, so it’s not surprising to know that it costs more than you might think. It’s a valuable asset that promotes, acquires, saves, and exchanges for all organisations. Lack of data protection may lead to cybercrimes like data breaches which could lead to financial loss, reputation damage, and consumer degradation. With this in mind, protecting it from any corruption and illegal access should be a priority.