By 2025, cybercrime will cost the world an estimated $10.5 trillion annually. In today’s world, data security has become more crucial than ever. Businesses all over the world have suffered huge losses as a result of data breaches, so keeping your organization protected at all times is crucial. There are various things you can do to keep your company safe, such as installing antivirus software on your systems and using the best proxy sites.
Staying fully protected can be quite difficult. In this guide, we’re going to cover what data breaches are, and what you can do to help keep your business safe.
What Is a Data Breach?
These days, many businesses handle sensitive data to some degree. This is typically customer or employee information, but can also include other types of data. In an ideal world, the only people who would ever be able to access this data would be those with authority, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
A data breach is when unauthorized individuals get access to this data, and in many cases, they’ll use it for personal gain. A data breach can happen to individuals with their private information, or large organizations with huge amounts of confidential data.
With the increase in digitization, people’s personal and work lives are more connected to the internet than ever. This presents more ways in which data breaches can occur. As this happens, the need for improved protection also increases.
How Do Data Breaches Happen?
In many cases, a data breach is caused by an outside party. Attackers will find a way into a system to gain access to confidential data. They can then use this for monetary gain in a range of ways.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that data breaches can also be caused internally—both deliberately and unintentionally.
Many data breaches occur completely by accident. There are various ways this can happen.
A typical example would be an employee using a coworker’s computer. This computer may have files on it that they’re not authorized to view. This often doesn’t cause any major issues, as they may see some confidential information and not share it with anyone, but as they’ve viewed it, it’s still considered a data breach.
This is when someone within an organization intentionally accesses/shares data to deliberately harm the company, or a specific individual. The person who commits the data breach may have the authorization to access the data, so they can then use it or share it as they wish.
Lost or Stolen Devices
Many people use devices such as laptops, tablets, hard drives, memory sticks, etc. for their work. Such devices can easily be lost or stolen. If the data on them is unencrypted, then other people may be able to access it.
Malicious Outside Parties
These types of attacks are done with full intent to steal data and cause harm. There are various ways that hackers will try to do this. These are generally the data breaches that cause the most harm, so you need to ensure you’re protected against these.
Malicious Methods Used
Malicious attacks can cause huge problems, sometimes big enough to destroy a business. As such, you need to be aware of the different methods that attackers use so that you can prepare for them.
This is one of the longest-standing techniques used by hackers, in which the attackers will pose as trustworthy individuals or organizations. This is done to fool you, or others at your company, into trusting them. By doing this they may be able to get people to give them sensitive data, or access to it.
Brute force attacks use tools to try to guess passwords so that attackers can access a system. They constantly work through different password combinations until they get through. Brute force attacks can take some time, but as computers have grown more powerful, the speeds have increased.
Some hackers will even use malware to hijack your own devices. These can then help speed up their attacks. The weaker a password is, the quicker it’ll break through—very simple passwords can sometimes take just seconds.
Malware can get through security flaws that are found in hardware, software, operating systems, and networks. It comes in many forms and can be used for various purposes.
Spyware is a type that’s specifically used for stealing private data, and it can be very hard to detect. Other types may be used to turn a computer into a proxy server or to track keystrokes so that attackers can steal passwords and other account information.
What Attackers Target
Some data breaches are accidental, and in these cases, there generally isn’t any specific target. Intentional attacks, however, will typically have a particular approach.
Data breaches take planning, so attackers will research the target to figure out where they’re the most vulnerable. Such vulnerabilities are typically in missing/failed updates, or employees that are susceptible to phishing scams.
Once an attacker has identified the target’s weak points, they’ll figure out the best way to proceed with the breach. If they can successfully install malware on the target’s system, they’ll be free to access and steal whatever data they want. Breaches often take months to detect, so they’ll have plenty of time to take what they need.
The most common things for attackers to target are:
- Weak credentials
- Stolen credentials
- Compromised assets
- Payment card fraud
- Third-party access
- Mobile devices
All it takes is one vulnerability, and a hacker may be able to launch an attack. It’s crucial to have all bases covered, so ensure that all systems that your company uses are properly protected.
If you’re lucky, a data breach you experience will simply be a case of someone accidentally seeing something they shouldn’t have. Such an issue can easily be resolved. In many cases, however, data breaches can cause much larger problems.
Data breaches can cause huge financial losses. What’s worse, is they can lead to major trust issues. If your company experiences a data breach, people will remember it, and they’ll be reluctant to ever do business with you for fear that it might happen again.
For Government Organizations
Governments handle a lot of highly confidential information. A data breach could leak things like military operations, government activities, and information on national infrastructure. If such information gets out, it could be a major concern for a country and its citizens.
There are all kinds of ways people could use someone else’s personal data. Identity theft is a common issue as attackers may be able to gain names, addresses, banking information, social security numbers, and more. They might also be able to gain access to various accounts, which could even include work accounts, potentially giving them access to data from companies.
How to Stay Protected
There are various ways that companies and individuals can protect themselves from data breaches. A great way to stay protected is with the help of proxy sites—but what is a proxy site?
A proxy site lists various proxy servers, which can help protect you online. They have a range of features to keep you secure, such as:
- Data filtering
- Connection sharing
- Anonymous access
- Data caching
Using the best proxy sites can help to create an additional level of security for your network. Malicious parties will then have a harder time accessing your data. You can also use a VPN to further improve your security in a similar way.
Something else that’s crucial is keeping all software and operating systems up to date. When developers become aware of an exploit, they’ll work quickly to fix it. That fix will only be in effect on your system once you install the latest patch that they release, so keeping things updated will help keep everything secure.
Strong credentials and multi-factor authentication can be very helpful. Stronger passwords will offer much better protection from brute force attacks. With multi-factor authentication, even if someone manages to steal login credentials, they still usually won’t be able to get into a system.
Another crucial step to take is education. Ensure your employees know what risks there are and how to avoid them. This will prevent them from falling victim to things like phishing scams, and encourage them to be responsible with their devices and credentials.
Your Data Security
Maintaining a high level of data security is crucial for both businesses and individuals. You should stay up to date with current threats and the precautions you can take to stay protected.
At My Software Bee, we compare the best proxies and VPNs so that you can easily find the most suitable options for you. To find out more about how we can help your business, click here to contact us today.