How to Prevent Data Breaches in Your Organization?
Data breaches are one of the most significant threats in the modern world. They can compromise the integrity of entire organizations in a matter of minutes. This significant increase in privacy breaches of the users’ data is all due to the dependence upon the internet.
The internet has probably become an essential utility in everyone’s life. Be it work, travel, shopping, education, or anything else, the internet has the power to facilitate them all. As such, securing oneself from security breaches is more important than ever. But how do you do that? Fortunately, we have the answer here for you. Follow us as we tell you all about data breaches and further discuss ways how to overcome data breaches in your everyday life. Let’s get started:
What are Data Breaches?
A data breach is when the data security or the information security of certain is compromised. It may result in all kinds of consequences. Each type of data breach has its repercussions, from phishing scams to identity thefts to ransomware and much more.
For instance, in case of a personal data breach, your credit card information, social security number, passwords, and other personal details will be at risk. And if you do not take measures to mitigate the damage, you could end up in serious trouble.
On the other hand, a corporate cybersecurity breach is when an attack targets the internet servers of an organization. This form of a data breach could corrupt confidential information or even result in leaks for third parties to take advantage of.
Types of Data Breaches
Each form of a data breach can cause severe damage depending on its nature. For a better understanding of the matter, let us explain each type of data breach in a bit of detail.
You might have already come across a message where it states that your phone or device has been hacked. The sender of the message claims that they will leak the information to the public unless you do what they say. Usually, they ask for a ransom for the information, thus the name of the data breach.
The name of this type of data breach speaks for itself. Often, information may be stolen, ultimately causing significant harm to the property owner. If you do not protect your data, it might fall into the wrong hands, corrupting, leaking, or using that data for illegitimate purposes.
Some cybercriminals resort to keylogger software for implementing a data breach. These keylogger software can record every keystroke on your keyboard and are the cause of some of the most significant data breaches. When your keystrokes are recorded, cyber criminals use the keystrokes to deduce the passwords to your accounts.
While it may seem foolish, password guessing is an effective tactic for conducting a data security breach. This is why no one should ever leave their passwords written on a piece of paper or anywhere else. People with ill intentions could use those passwords to bring harm to the organization or the owner of the data. Moreover, a password should never be created using birthdays, social security numbers, or addresses. They can help cyber criminals easily guess your password.
A phishing scam occurs when a cyber criminal sends you an email from an illegitimate email address disguised as a legitimate email address. Usually, they contain a link that can redirect you to a malicious site or infiltrate your system. Thus, one should always be cautious of opening emails from unknown sources.
Malware or a virus is sent primarily to damage or corrupt the data on a device. Be it a personal data breach or a corporate one; malware can have drastic consequences. To avoid malware, one should never click on shady links. Furthermore, the antivirus software should always be up and running.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
A DDoS attack is mainly for restricting access to large organizations’ accounts. When a DDoS attack takes place, people in an organization will not be able to access their accounts with their login credentials. And data loss prevention is usually only made possible by shutting down the servers altogether.
How do Data Breaches occur?
A data breach can occur because of various reasons. While some may be because of the intentional loophole left in the security, others may be merely because of an unintentional mistake made by a person. For a better understanding of the matter, have a look at some of the reasons a data breach occurs:
A data leak can easily be made possible if a person gets their hands on the login credentials of a person. This is why you should never write down your username or password anywhere. If those login credentials fall into the wrong hands, you could become a victim of data theft, phishing scams, and much more.
As discussed earlier as well, a phishing scam is when a cyber criminal sends an email from an illegitimate email disguised as a legitimate one. Usually, one or a few characters are changed from the email address, giving the impression that the email is illegitimate. Thus, one should always be cautious of opening emails from unknown sources. On top of it, links in such emails should be interacted with, with even more caution.
Every piece of software has a vulnerability that can be exploited. One may claim that a software is invulnerable, but that rarely is the case. If a software is designed to withstand a certain threshold of a data breach, then it is only logical that an equally capable counter-software can be made. The software vulnerabilities can be exploited, thus bringing forth a significant information breach.
Sometimes, people who used to work for an organization are responsible for data breaches. They might still have the login credentials to their work systems, or they might have the key card that was used within the organizational premises. This is why it is monumental that all access be revoked the moment an leaves the organization’s employment.
Another way to make a data breach successful is by physically walking over to the servers and corrupting the data security and privacy from there. Servers are usually kept in highly secured spaces for this specific reason. And even after such high protocols, a data breach can still be made possible if an inside person is involved.
Often, there might be a mistake in the initial configuration of the software or hardware. The programmers and/or hardware designers may have left room for exploitation intentionally or unintentionally. The privacy of data, in this case, can be in the form of an online security breach or a physical data breach.
Not all hackers and cyber criminals rely entirely on remote techniques to implement a data privacy breach. Some would instead go old school by stealing confidential papers, laptops, smartphones, and other material containing compromising information. This is why organizations usually have scanners at all entrances and exits of a building to prevent data from exiting the premises.
All organizations usually have robust data loss protection plans in place. And if this is not the case, the organization is open to severe risks. The IT department is the one overseeing this aspect.
One example of social engineering a data breach would be implementing a phishing scam. Cybercriminals usually send emails from addresses disguised as legitimate email addresses. For instance, they could be disguising themselves as the IT department. The email might ask you to click on a specific link or share certain information. If you are not careful, you might become a victim of a socially engineered phishing scam.
All of us are humans. And we are bound to make a mistake eventually. Thus, data breaches are not always intentionally initiated. They are only made possible because a specific person in the organization made a seemingly minor mistake. However, the said mistake could have catastrophic consequences for the organization.
What Happens During a Data Breach?
There are several reasons for implementing a data breach, and it may have different outcomes and side effects. However, a data breach usually has things prominent in it:
Target identification and surveillance
A hacker may have infiltrated a system or network only to do surveillance or find a particular piece of information. The hacker releases bots that probe the entire network and look for any vulnerabilities in the system.
Once the hacker has identified the vulnerabilities in the system, their next step would be to contact the users by disguising themselves. They might ask for access to specific data or require you to perform certain actions on the system. And if the user is not careful, they might end up doing more harm than good.
Apart from blackmailing authorized users, hackers can also use the acquired information to compromise the integrity of a system or the server it is connected to. They might utilize the gained access to move on the more secured servers or simply corrupt the data on the servers if that is the primary goal.
Exfiltration is when the hacker acquires the desired information and makes a copy of that information on a device or server that they control. This way, existing information appears intact, whereas the data breach will have been successful.
How to Prevent Different Types of Breaches?
A data leak can have enormous consequences on an organization. If an organization is a data breach victim, it might have to bear substantial financial costs to rectify the matter. In some cases, it might even have to shut down operations altogether. Let’s look at how you can prevent different kinds of data breaches.
How to Prevent Data Leaks?
A data leak refers to unauthorized entities acquiring data or information illegally. This data can be login credentials, organizational knowledge, or any piece of information that can be used to compromise the integrity of the organization. To prevent data breaches, you could use a VPN service such as Ivacy VPN. Ivacy VPN can help transmit your data through encrypted tunnels. And these tunnels are hidden from any third parties whatsoever.
How to Prevent Phishing-Related Breaches?
Phishing Scams are a form of social engineering that implement a data breach by disguising an email address as legitimate. People might not be careful when opening an email, thinking that it is from a legitimate source.
To counter this form of a data breach, the organization must routinely educate all its employees on the protocols of receiving and sending emails. They must be instructed never to open emails from unknown sources. Moreover, they should always be cautious of opening emails from known sources. Anything fishy should be reported to the relevant department immediately.
How to Prevent Passwords From Being Lost, Stolen, and Cracked?
A password is the first line of defense against any data breach attempt. Thus, passwords should be created with utmost care. If a password is compromised, there is not much one can do to mitigate the damage.
The sensible thing to do here is to create a password that cannot be guessed easily. A password should be a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Furthermore, a password should never be derived from one’s birthday, social security number, or address. They are the easiest to guess.
How to Prevent Ransomware Breaches?
Ransomware is a type of a data breach that restricts you from accessing your device. And this access is only given back to you if you deliver the ransom to the hacker, that is if they give back the access.
You ought to install reliable antivirus and anti-malware software to prevent a ransomware attack. These software should be updated regularly and should always be up and running no matter what.
How to Prevent Vulnerability Exploit Data Breaches?
As we have already discussed, there are vulnerabilities in almost every system. And one should take measures to minimize and remove those vulnerabilities. To prevent data breaches, your best bet is to utilize a tool that automatically scans your network for all vulnerabilities. And if any vulnerabilities are found, it also provides you with a solution for them.
How to Prevent Spyware Breaches?
You ought to install reliable antivirus software to counter a spyware data breach like a malware data breach. The antivirus should be capable of detecting any spyware attack before it takes place. Moreover, it should offer dependable counter-measures should an attack pass through.
How to Prevent Data Breaches With Configuration Management?
The initial configuration of the software and hardware plays a crucial role in its integrity. Thus, there should be an oversight on the configuration so any changes can be vetted and rectified if needed.
How to Prevent Third and Fourth-Party Data Breaches?
Organizations often give restricted access to third parties to perform certain activities. And if the relevant authority does not oversee this access, the organization could become a victim of a third-party data breach. Thus, a tool should be implemented within the supply chain that can monitor the access of third-party entities.
Tips to Avoid Data Breaches from Happening
There are several other things that you can do to safeguard yourselves from a data breach. Merely adopting these techniques below can help you out a lot:
Use a VPN Service
A VPN service is an essential tool that you can use. Primarily, a VPN service is there to offer you enhanced security and privacy. It does this by encrypting the traffic traveling to and from your device. Thus, the traffic cannot be accessed by third parties. A VPN can mask your IP address and replace it with a virtual IP address from a different geographical location. As such, when you access a particular site via a VPN service such as Ivacy VPN, it will appear as if you are in an entirely different geographical region.
Restrict Access to Confidential Information
Not every piece of information needs to be known by everyone. Certain information should be on a “Need to Know” basis. Thus, confidential information should only be accessible to specific individuals at the top.
Avoid Data Hoarding
Data hoarding refers to not letting go of any of the organization’s data, irrespective of whether it is outdated or no longer relevant. Unfortunately, data hoarding can be counter-productive and ultimately result in a data breach. For instance, older data might help hackers guess the existing password of your systems in the organization.
All organization employees should undergo serious cybersecurity training from the day they join the company. They should be aware of the Dos and Donts of cybersecurity. And only by doing this can you create a more secure cyber-environment in the organization.
Keep Security Software Updated
All the software, firewalls, antivirus tools, and other applications on the company’s device should be updated instantaneously. These frequent updates can help tackle the ever-growing threat of data breaches.
In addition to close monitoring near the work site, there should also be methods to monitor the activity remotely. Setting up a security room with the live feed from the security cameras at the premises is one way to do it.
As discussed earlier, your password should be as complex as possible. It should contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. Moreover, it should never be derived from your birthdate, social security number, or address.
What do You do if a Data Breach happens?
If you have the misfortune of facing a data breach, then you must take immediate action to minimize the damage. For starters, you ought to do the following:
Change any Compromised Passwords
The first thing that you need to do is change all the passwords on a compromised device or network. If you are lucky, you might stop the data breach in its tracks then and there.
Remove your data from the breached websites
The next thing that you need to do is log out of websites that you might have logged into in the past. Sometimes, we log on to accounts and then forget about them.
In a Nutshell
Hopefully, the discussion above has helped you understand what a data breach is and how you can take measures to prevent it. And if you wish further to strengthen the security and privacy of your network, make sure to subscribe to Ivacy VPN.
- What is the impact of data breaches on individuals?
Data leak prevention is essential for organizations and individuals both. For individuals, data breaches can enable identity thefts, phishing scams, credit card fraud, and much more.
- What is the impact of data breaches on companies?
If a company has become of a data breach, it might cause the company to bear a significant financial loss, goodwill loss, and even cause the company to shut down permanently.
- What are the biggest data breaches in history?
Some of the biggest data breaches in history are:
- Apple Health Medicaid (2021)
- Ashley Madison (2015)
- AT&T (2008)