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Know and Prevent Data Breach

Are you worried about your personal data being stolen from organizational data breaches?

 

You should be!

 

Data breaches are far too common today. The sad part is that this is not a problem that is going away anytime soon.

 

In this article, we will talk about the risks of a data breach, how they can make a serious impact on you and your company, and some steps you can take to prevent it.

 

Let us learn more about the risks of a data breach, how they can make a serious impact on you and your company, and some steps you can take to prevent it.

It wasn’t too long ago when a data breach or data leak that might compromise the lives of many would have made the headlines. Today, such an offense wherein hundreds of millions or even billions of people have been affected is far too common. 

Countless people have seen their personal data stolen in some of the biggest and most recent data breaches. This prompted individuals and businesses to invest so much to ensure that strong security measures and best practices are placed to create a safe and solid information technology infrastructure.

In this article, we will talk about the risks of a data breach, how they can make a serious impact on you and your company, and some steps you can take to prevent it.

What does a data breach mean?

Data breach means that your data has been leaked or stolen.

In other words, you have lost access to your data or someone has stolen a copy of the data or an unauthorized party has got access to your private or sensitive data.

Of course, you will not know when this has occurred or precisely what happened to your data. You might have an app that is hacked. You may have stored data and not even known that it was missing until it leaked out. We all have our problems.

Sometimes, there are no signs or clues that something has been stolen. Usually, hackers will only do this for a certain number of people to avoid legal issues. Hence, it becomes quite difficult for employees to identify a breach.

Some people fail to back up their data. This is a serious issue since the information that is lost can lead to a huge amount of potential issues. Hence, what do you do in case of a data breach? The following steps are crucial.

Databreach

The key information you should identify is;

  • Who made the data breach?
  • What were they trying to achieve?
  • What information was taken?
  • How many records or user information have been leaked?
  • What measures have they taken?
  • How effective was the data security?

The answers to these questions help you understand what the consequences could be if there are no proper security measures taken.

What happens in a data breach?

Simply put, a data breach is the intentional or unintentional dissemination of data or information by hackers. This typically involves the theft of data stored remotely. What are the risks, what can happen to you, and how do we know that it’s really happening?

If an unauthorized user gains access to your network, they can steal data such as:

  1. Contact information (like usernames, passwords, email addresses, and phone numbers)
  2. Payment information (credit card numbers, authentication codes, online banking information)
  3. User accounts
  4. Social security numbers
  5. Health and medical records
  6. Credit card and driver’s licenses
  7. Criminal records (especially if stolen)

As part of a data breach, hackers may be able to attack:

  1. Your network
  2. Your users
  3. Your data
  4. Your network
  5. Your users
  6. Your data

What can happen in a data breach?

The best way to protect yourself is not to be vulnerable – to never give any data of any kind to an unauthorized party – but your ability to manage and control your data is still important. You can’t do much when it comes to protecting your network, your users, or your data if you don’t know your networks in-depth. By looking at your network from the outside in we think that you should be a much stronger manager, in the long run, you could prevent a data breach from happening or be able to clean the mess up faster.

It’s likely that your information, username, credentials, are just sitting on several servers (especially outside your control) that you don’t know about. These might be:

  • Your own (or someone else’s) websites, domains, and hosting accounts
  • Your own personal webmail accounts
  • Third party webmail (like Google & Yahoo)
  • Third party search providers like Google, Yandex, Bing, etc.
  • Online gaming accounts

You should also verify any social security numbers, tax info, birth dates and locations, online banking information, or credit card information that you don’t control by making sure these things are either stored securely outside of your control, or by putting them into a vault with physical access controls.

How we can identify data breaches

You should also recognize when it does happen when someone can access your confidential information, your accounts, and make decisions based on your data. This can range from simple information leakages such as a hacker accessing your password on an internet site, or obtaining your name and email address. But there are many more, there are also more aggressive attacks.

There are a number of steps you can take to minimize the effects of a data breach on your network (if it happens):

How to prevent a data breach:

Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent a data breach:

1. Train Your Employees

Put all your employees through data security training and let them take refresher courses every time the latest security guidelines are made available. This will keep the idea of protecting sensitive and valuable information crisp in their minds.

2. Simulate Attacks

Most of our security issues stem from our own mistakes. An example would be clicking a link even when it comes from a malicious e-mail. By utilizing free or paid simulators, you enhance your employee’s ability to spot harmful e-mails. This will help your company become more secure.

3. Re-Evaluate Your Accounts Regularly

Making revisions to your account regularly can go a long way in ensuring the security of your most private data. Change e-mail addresses and passwords as often as possible. This may be tedious but it lowers the risk of rogue employees using them and cause damage to your company. Not only does it keep password thieves guessing but it also provides a wall of security that keeps potential threats at bay.

Why is a data breach bad?

I’ll go ahead and confess today that I’ve been waiting for this question for a while.  That’s because the recent cyberattacks have been so large that they have been impossible to ignore. The size and scale of these attacks are almost comical.

So, if we all take a moment and take a deep breath: where do we begin? Do we call the FBI? Congress? The president? Lord Almighty?

The answer is, in fact, all of the above.

The attack and subsequent public acknowledgement of the intrusion (after a cyber-attack usually doesn’t go unreported) is unprecedented in the history of the Internet. It’s impossible to say exactly how many individuals were affected by this attack. But the size and scale of the affected community make everything we do and say and think about data security over the course of this new year all the more important.

The answer to that question on why a data breach is bad should begin with two things:

  1. A data breach is bad because of the potential for damage that could result, and
  2. The potential of damage should not be equated with the potential damage caused by an actual attack.

Let me explain that.

Some potential consequences of a data breach:

What you choose to do depends in part on how much time and money you’re willing to invest in data security. You could simply patch up your server and start over from scratch. But that approach would be extremely risky, and it might not solve your underlying security problem. It might lead to an incomplete solution, meaning that eventually, you’ll have to come back to square one.

Here’s what I don’t understand: If the hackers successfully bypassed your security and gained access, why wouldn’t they have just taken everything you had? Wouldn’t that have given them complete access?

After all, they’ve got everything they need right now: All your user passwords. Your access codes. Your source codes. Your backup data. Your information in totality. 

Data security is more of a marketing issue since providing customers with great service should include the protection of all customer data. However, such an infringement can have a severe financial impact on companies. Customers may no longer feel secure with their services. Considered as a violation of trust, it is not just the loss of confidence by the current customers that can be damaging. The negative effects of unfavorable word of mouth, especially in today’s age of social media, can prove to be as harmful. The list of such exposed organisations are pretty large in number.

While, as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity, data breaches are no doubt damaging to the image of a company. Markets react severely to breaches. This is particularly true in the retail industry. Customers in the retail sector can be fickle and are less likely to show loyalty to brands. A breach of any size is viewed by many customers as severe regardless of the number of consumers affected. 

Companies should bear in mind that hackers will employ techniques to stay a step ahead of them. This means that a breach-free environment may not be as easy to achieve as it sounds. It all comes down to how badly a company wants to establish a foolproof system that protects and compensates its customers.

What can you do to keep your data safe?

I understand that it’s extremely difficult to make the right choice for every organization, whether they are large or small. In fact, it’s almost impossible to come up with one that’s guaranteed to keep the data safe, whether you’re an individual or the manager of a corporation. 

That’s because no organization is an island. We’re all connected in a global network of people and things that interact with each other. 

No matter how brilliant the technology or how well-staffed the data center, things can still fail from time to time. 

At the same time, those of us who manage things are responsible, first and foremost, for taking the right actions in the right ways to keep the data safe and, ultimately, to keep the organization healthy.

What steps might it take to reduce your organization’s susceptibility and impact of a data breach?

The best approach to reduce the likelihood of a data breach is going with a hybrid approach to the entire cybersecurity process.

The hybrid approach does two things:

It uses the best of what’s known about security (best practices that are supported by the latest research; both passive and active security) while at the same time using the best of what we know about security

What are the different types of data breaches?

The term of the breach can vary greatly from the type of data lost to the actual damage that is inflicted on the organisation’s systems and data.

A simple example is when an employee who is supposed to remain anonymous was found to be tweeting inappropriate comments. The tweet was immediately removed from the employee’s account.

However in the context of a data breach that involves a corporate or individual customer or a database leak, the same action could have a far more devastating impact on the organisation.

How can organisations identify when a data breach has occurred?

To understand how data breach notification laws are in place and the steps organisations and individuals need to take before and after a data breach has occurred, it’s important to differentiate between and learn more about what types of data breaches are out there.

Types of a data breach

There are several types of data breach, each with different data-informing procedures that can be followed. The key difference between types of data breaches is the impact they have on an organisation.

  1. Type 1: Organised data breaches happen because of a breach or security incident in one or more organisations. Usually it happens from hacking, misuse, or accidental corruption of corporate data or equipment.
  2. Type 1: Organised data breaches are often detected and dealt with immediately, since organisations take actions to limit exposure by limiting the access that data holders and employees have to company systems. However when the loss has reached a certain volume, organisational policies have to be amended to protect against any further loss of data.
  3. Type 2: Organised data breaches are usually the result of a corporate or individual data breach that may have occurred due to negligence or corruption of corporate data or equipment.
  4. Type 3: Organised data breaches happen after a corporation or individual has been affected by an unplanned, unwanted or deliberate act or event that may have caused data loss or damage to corporate or individual customer data. When organisations do not have the resources or capacity to prevent damage from taking place. The incident can be attributed to an issue in the organisation’s systems or people (such as security-related policies, procedures or the way that staff report incidents).

What needs to be done to be notified of a data breach?

Before being notified by a data recovery company the company should take certain steps to mitigate the effects of a data breach and ensure that the required action is being taken to safeguard other organisations’ systems and data.

Data Breach Notification Laws

Since the time the legislation of electronic data breach notification laws began in the United States, all companies have to implement them to make sure that the correct steps for addressing a data breach are being taken and that the company’s data is protected and secured effectively. These legal obligations are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC requires that organisations that want to notify the FTC receive information that the breach is occurring and take the appropriate safety measures, but the FTC does not provide much assistance to organisations on making the appropriate arrangements that are necessary to notify the FTC when there is a data breach and prevent the organisations from entering into a formal business relationship with the FTC.

Some organisations are able to deal with the breach themselves, such as with a company that is able to secure its own systems using security software.

While others have experienced challenges that include the loss of valuable intellectual property during a breach, are unable to secure their data or are not able to obtain adequate coverage of their data protection responsibilities, meaning the companies are unable to receive or process the FTC’s required notice for the data breach.

In most instances, organisations that experience a data breach should work with a relevant authority to identify and analyse the extent of the data breach

What is a data privacy breach?

Every company is at risk today from both internal and external threats (internal breaches are the least threatening so this article should be of little concern to most companies). If you are a business owner or manager, you know the dangers of identity theft, theft of your customers or vendors, and your company’s reputation is damaged.

But the most common cause of data breaches is a breach of data privacy! The data privacy breach is often thought of as a personal data breach when in reality an internal breach can be far more serious.

It happens in several different forms, but the most common are:

  • a security incident where a database administrator or security officer mistakenly deletes or mis-inputs data
  • an illegal breach of data privacy where data has been inadvertently stored or shared
  • data being passed to data-mining companies — often outside the consent of the customer or vendor
  • an employee leaking data (from a confidential conversation) or a supplier or customer giving information illegally to another party.

So, what is a data privacy breach? How do I know when I may have one? What can I do about it?

If the data privacy breach cannot be resolved, it may be a business risk and the damage done to the business may be irreparable. Therefore, it is important to have a good idea about when a data privacy breach has happened.

If the data privacy breach can be resolved it is not of great importance, the only concern may be the damage done to customer relationships and to your reputation 

If the data privacy breach can be resolved (or can be mitigated) the damage or cost of resolving that data privacy breach is not of greater importance, because any damage is not irreparable 

If the data privacy breach cannot be resolved, the damage done to customer relationships and reputation will be more than enough to make it an irreparable business risk. It might be advisable to not let this issue go unnoticed.

Data Privacy Breach: What is a Data Privacy Breach?

A data privacy breach is the accidental, inadvertent sharing of private personal information or information concerning a third party outside the consent of the individual or individual authorized (see also: consent).

Examples:

An employee of a third party company has stolen your personal information (including name, address, and phone number).

Someone working at a competitor has stolen your company’s confidential information (like secret recipes, research data, sales plans, sales targets, and financial results)

Someone selling your company’s data has sold data about customer credit cards and billing information to a data mining service (a competitor or competitor of the selling party)

What is the Difference Between a Security Incident and a Data Privacy Breach?

A security incident is an event where a computer system has been compromised resulting in data having been changed, deleted, or corrupted. Usually, computers are not directly broken or compromised by this event. But data is often changed, deleted, or corrupted.

Leakage of personally identifiable data of users/employee is termed as a data privacy breach.

What Are The Different Types Of Data Breaches?

Data breaches happen all the time, compromising the data of billions of customers worldwide. As a result, companies that have faced such breach have suffered massive losses. This has severely affected the way they distribute their products and services. With data breaches happening in every industry, here are the most common types of data breaches to protect yourself from: 

1. Employee Negligence Or Error

One of the most obvious kinds of data breaches is when sensitive data is stolen directly. This can come from a misplaced file with classified information or a thief breaking in and stealing a sample to sell to competitors. Even the most skilled and trustworthy personnel are at risk of sharing data from confidential files. The slightest miscalculation can result in irreversible company-damaging theft.

2. Phishing

Websites, software, and apps are just some of the popular platforms hackers use to gather sensitive data like your Social Security number and credit card information. They operate just like the websites we often use. They cleverly pretend to be part of a well-known company’s official website and trick customers to share their sensitive, personal records. 

3. Password Guessing

Date of birth, anniversaries, children’s names, and pet names are not very strong passwords to keep. Cybercriminals use advanced tactics to quickly generate a database of such passwords. Constantly in search of vulnerable targets, private personal information is almost always at risk. It is important to maintain a solid and strong password. 

4. Keystrokes Record

The more advanced cybercriminals can get access to your keypad. They can record each stroke made on it. By getting hold of such a valuable source of information, they are able to use your personal data like phone numbers, bank details, and e-mails to take control of your online accounts.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is very much like holding a person hostage. This kind of attack enables hackers to keep users from accessing their accounts until payment is made. Your attacker performs encryption on your data to put your business at a halt. Attackers would change an account’s password or e-mail address to deny its original owner access. Account owners are often notified via e-mail or social media websites. 

6. Service Denial

This is often carried out as a form of protest against the practices of much bigger firms. Hackers can make signing into the system hopeless for those at work. This makes it nearly impossible for any business to function properly. While valuable data may not be lost, this type of assault forces the company to shut down while dealing with the security breach. It also exposes them to the risks of having their most classified trade secrets being shared with the public. 

7. Cyber Attack

More and more companies swear by the use of cyber technology. Along with this, the number of attacks through this means has also grown rapidly. Malware can now be sent to countless people effortlessly, causing huge damage and losses to their records. Such malware is often sent and acquired through e-mail. This kind of attack can be very harmful to any organization since it could wipe out millions of crucial information at once.

Conclusion

Every organization stores critical identifiable information. Regardless of size, industry and variable, every company can be considered as a target, including yours. All it really takes is one misstep to put countless records at risk, giving huge significance to every action such as proper personnel training, regular account codes strengthening, and keeping vital records out of everyone’s reach, great ways to avert any form of data breach. By employing such exceptional and efficient safety precautions, you ensure not only your safety, but by those of millions.

So the above has explained to you how dangerous a data breach can be. At best, you may lose some in-game items. At worse, you could lose your job, home, marriage, and, in extreme cases, your life. Luckily, there are plenty of recourses on how to prevent a data breach available in this day and age.

It would help if you always used a different password for all your online accounts. Install security software on your computer, look after your paper records. And never give your information to anyone trying to obtain it unless you can verify it is from a trusted company. If you are going to run a business, you should hire professionals to handle your data’s security.

Your data is valuable, and it is up to you to protect it.

Be Aware, Be Safe.  Be Aware & Take Action