Many businesses managed to thrive and prosper thanks to everything the digital world has offered. It may have made things easier in different aspects, including minimizing paperwork, but it didn’t eliminate all factors of threats. Cybercriminals and hackers have been the greatest threat that every business dread. They get skillful every day at using corporate’s vulnerability and causing, sometimes, irreversible damages, including data breaches. But what exactly is a data breach? And what kind of threat does it impose on large businesses?
In this article, you’ll learn about a data breach in terms of types, causes, and how to prevent it, and more.
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is an act of looting a system from sensitive information without legal authorization. Such incidents can happen accidentally where an insider unintentionally exposes protected information. However, most of the time, they are intentional acts of offense that hackers and cybercriminals commit.
The information stolen is usually of a confidential nature, including personal or financial information or matters related to national security. When sensitive information is leaked, large businesses face the possibility of intellectual property theft or database damages.
For that matter, businesses owners need to hire highly-skilled cyber security engineers to resist cybercriminals’ attacks and threats.
Different Types of Data Breach
The act of stealing important data does not always happen through accidental exposure from an insider’s side. It can happen in different forms, including electronic breaches, physical breaches, and skimming.
Electronic Data Breach
An electronic breach is attacking a private system or network in which a corporation stores its sensitive data. Cybercriminals use many ways to gain unauthorized access into networks, mainly taking advantage of a system’s vulnerabilities.
Physical Data Breach
Unlike electronic breaches, this type involves the physical theft of devices or documents. It could be stealing computers, external hard drives, or any documental asset with significant data that should stay confidential.
The third type of breach is skimming, and it entails recording the data embedded on the credit cards’ backs. Some criminals use an external device to collect this data, usually the magnetic stripe data. It’s present on various POS of different merchants, but not all of them know it.
Causes of Data Breach
Again, data breach happens by exploiting the vulnerabilities that attackers manage to find in a system. Many vulnerabilities threaten the safety of a corporate’s network and data. Here are some of the top causes of such unfortunate attacks:
Outdated Softwares and Hardware
Going for so long without fully updating software and hardware exposes businesses to make an easy target out of themselves. Attackers prey on such vulnerabilities where back doors are left unattended.
Thus, business owners should invest in premium patch management to keep their networks, software, and hardware up-to-date. That way, they will give a wide berth to attackers and make their data inaccessible.
Unfortunately, sometimes the attack happens from the inside and not the other way around. Your enemies may be one of the employees who have access to your data. Disloyal workers can leak sensitive information for the sake of their interests or by being threatened.
Hiring a skillful cyber security team that immediately reports any potential danger goes a long way. However, you also need to pay close attention to the people you hire. They are not just simple workers when they deal with sensitive data that can jeopardize your career.
Malware stands for the combination of the words “malicious” and “software.” It has been one of the most common ways to cause fatal damages. Malware can present itself in the form of an email attachment or a simple link. Once the user clicks on them, they give the hacker access to your network or cause damage to your data.
Moreover, there are several types of malware that hackers use to access your database. Besides, not only do they target people in senior positions, but regular employees are easy targets. Thus, training your staff to scrutinize their emails and links is key to reducing malware success or aborting it altogether.
You don’t have to be a tech guru to understand the importance of credentials. Signing up on any online platform demands you to create a strong password for your safety. The same applies to large businesses. Lost, weak, or exposed passwords can allow hackers to get their hands on confidential data.
So, it is vital for every member within an organization not to share their passwords. Using a single password for all databases is like handing personal and financial information to attackers on a silver plate. So, besides using a complex password, it is also essential to use different ones across your databases.
Types of Information to Protect from Breaching
While hacking a business system can often happen for financial reasons, it is not the only one. Financial information is not the only type of information that cyber criminals aim for. Other types can be of great benefit to them.
This one comes on top of the list as it is usually what most criminals aim for. Hackers can get access to the finances of a corporate and steal it or directly steal from personal bank accounts. Since money can be the motive behind many acts of offense, business owners should protect their finances.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Commonly known as PII, personally identifiable information is any type of personal information. This list includes birth dates, social security numbers, contact information, and likes. Do you probably wonder how such information would be of any use to a hacker? Stealing personal data can be of value since it can be sold and used for fraud or, worse, identity theft.
As a successful business owner, you have several competitors on the market. It’s better to have a precise business plan for pricing, market studies, and more to stand out in the market. Thus, some of your competitors may play unfair games by hiring a hacker to steal this information. If your rivals lay hands-on competitive details, they can quickly avert your plans and impair your legal position.
Stealing your intellectual property is sufficient to put your whole business on the line. Such information can be used to produce the same products or services you offer, and in a legal way. Not only will you lose money, but you will lose your client database as well.
How to Prevent Having Your Data Breached?
Hackers may use various ways to invade the privacy of your systems and data. But, fortunately, there are great ways to halt their attempts. Applying tools of cyber security is key to ultimate data protection.
Backing Up Your Data
Having your data backed up works perfectly when the damage already occurs. In cases of data corruption or stealing, you will be able to restore your information. It’s a vital role that business owners should not keep their sight away from.
Training Your Staff
Attackers may target any of your employees. Therefore, it is crucial that you make sure your employees have their eyes trained to recognize malicious links and attachments. Impersonating is also another form of cyber threat that hackers use. It’s essential to train your staff to report any potential danger and directly contact other employees in cases of suspicion.
Ensuring Endpoint Protection
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, working from home has become a regular job type that many companies apply. Consequently, this led to providing employees with devices that directly connect them to the company’s network. Such bridging can increase the risk of cyberattacks. Endpoint protection is a valuable tool that reduces the risk of invasion through bridged devices.
Updating Systems Regularly
Outdated systems and software form a great vulnerability point for cybercriminals. It creates a backdoor for them to break through. Thus, it is pretty essential to keep all networks, software, and hardware updates in check.
Performing Systematic Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is a protection practice that businesses use to ensure cyber security. This tool implements security controls across various applications to banish any possible vulnerabilities. Besides, it measures the degree
The Incident of Facebook Data Breach 2021
Unfortunately, a data breach can happen to even the highly funded businesses. Attackers come up with new methods every day to invade networks and steal sensitive information. In 2021, incidents of a data breach of reputable organizations were exposed.
Earlier in 2021, the scandal of Facebook data breach caused a storm throughout the whole world. The personal information of around 500 million users was stolen. You may think that the data on Facebook is a regular one, but actually, it is much more than you think.
Cybercriminals managed to lay their hands on users’ financial and personal data, including the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. This information can be of value to them, for they can scam or personate people, easing their way into stealing.
It isn’t easy to know whether you were among those whose data was leaked. Thus, it is important to take serious measures to protect your privacy further. Users of Facebook were advised to change their passwords after the incident.