A data breach occurs when an unauthorized user accesses private or sensitive data. Most often, the term “sensitive data” can be used when talking about financial records, personal passwords, information from databases, and documents protected by HIPAA.
Data breaches have a significant impact on public relations and make businesses and individuals lose a lot of money. In fact, data breaches have become more and more expensive, with enterprises losing about $3.86 million per breach in 2020.
Data breaches happen all the time, and no one can feel completely safe because, even though cybersecurity systems become more and more sophisticated, so does software used by hackers.
Such companies as Adobe, eBay, and LinkedIn became victims of hackers. Given that servers of these companies keep the data of millions of users, the results of such breaches were devastating.
For instance, after Yahoo became a victim of arguably the biggest cyber attack in history, one billion accounts were compromised.
Sometimes, you may be able to mitigate some of the effects of a data breach after it happens, but this isn’t always the case. Therefore, it’s extremely important for both companies and individuals to know how to prevent data breaches.
Businesses often become victims of cyber-attacks because companies keep a lot of private data and credentials. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your servers run updated software and are protected by reliable antivirus solutions.
How Data Breaches Occur
1. Weak passwords
Although the importance of having a strong password is rather obvious, easy-to-crack passwords remain one of the most common reasons why data gets stolen.
“If your server is connected to the web, it’s a target for hackers because they use automated software to search for unprotected servers,” notes Jozef Bain, a software security engineer at a writing services review platform Best Writers Online.
Such programs also initiate brute force attacks, trying thousands of combinations to access servers. The simpler the password, the sooner hackers will attack you.
2. Malware and phishing
Malware and phishing are common reasons why internal security breaches occur. Users from your network can become victims of phishing attacks and lose their passwords.
For instance, hackers may use spear-phishing tactics. In this case, certain departments and individuals receive personalized messages and emails from hackers who pretend to be someone else or fake notifications from legitimate services.
The purpose of such attacks is to trick people into sharing details of their accounts and passwords. Hackers can also enter the system through a direct backdoor if users download and open infected files.
Therefore, it’s important for businesses to train employees and to make sure that they’re aware of the common threats.
3.Outdated software and operating systems
You need to update your operating system and software regularly not only for new features but also to make it more difficult for hackers to get into your system.
Software and operating system developers know what elements became vulnerable for hackers so they release updates that address these problems.
Hackers are always ready to use any vulnerability so you should make sure that all your software is updated on time.
4. A vulnerable website
If your website has poorly coded web applications or outdated software packages, it can be vulnerable to automated attacks. Hackers often steal secured data by using SQL injection.
“Attackers may send specific requests to your SQL database to get sensitive information from it,” explains Ewan Miles, a security specialist at a writing services review website Online Writers Rating.
5. Physical security breaches
You might have seen such attacks in movies many times, and they actually happen in real life.
Someone can get access to your information by inserting a USB device into your computer, and this method may work even when your servers are well-secured.
Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind the general security of your company and make sure that only the right people can access your hardware.
5 Important Facts About Security Breaches
1. The most common motive is identity theft
According to statistics, the majority of data breaches are aimed to steal people’s identities rather than their credit card information.
In fact, 65% of data breaches result in identity theft that costs users about $1.9 billion a year.
2. The healthcare industry has the highest cost of a stolen record
According to research, a stolen healthcare record can cost as much as $363, so there’s no surprise that organizations from the healthcare sector are a common target for hackers.
Besides, fraud that involves healthcare records is difficult to stop, while credit cards can be quickly canceled.
Healthcare records are also considered a special category of data by the GDPR since they contain the most intimate data that could be used in various ways that would be extremely harmful to the individual. Therefore companies risk higher fines if healthcare data is compromised in a breach.
3.Having a single antivirus solution is not enough
450,000 new security threats emerge every day, so a single antivirus solution is unlikely to protect you from all possible attacks.
The best solution is to scan web content and email attachments with multiple solutions so that you can increase your chances to detect a threat.
Keep in mind that hackers study vulnerabilities in antivirus software, so having multiple layers of security is always a good idea.
4.The majority of breaches happen because of phishing attacks
According to research, 62% of businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2018. Hackers create emails that may look legitimate even to tech-savvy users.
Usually, hackers don’t just send such emails to random people but target specific people within a company. Such emails contain malicious links or attachments.
If a user clicks on a link or downloads a file, their computer will install malware that in turn may access the system.
5. Spam filters are bad at detecting spear-phishing attacks
Although spam filtering software can help you avoid some obvious phishing attacks, it’s not always effective. Such software usually relies on blacklists of known spam so it can help you avoid scammers who send their emails to random users.
Spear phishing attacks, however, are well-targeted so such emails are not included in blacklists. Therefore, traditional spam filters are unlikely to detect such threats.
Data breaches are very common, and hackers use very sophisticated tactics. Therefore, when it comes to data breaches, the question isn’t if, but when it happens.
The most important thing is to know common threats so that you can avoid them. Use reliable firewalls that can block unnecessary ports and traffic.
Make sure that only specific IP addresses have access to sensitive areas of your web applications. Update all your software on time and install reliable antivirus software.
Businesses should also put some effort into training employees and informing them about possible phishing attempts.