Many of us have heard about data breaches, but very few of us know about them and how it can harm the business. It is a security incident where unauthorized access to information results in consumers and businesses hurting negatively for the uninitiated. It can prove to be a very costly expense for the businesses and can irreparably damage reputations and lives. These days, we hear a lot of news and stories about massive data breaches. With the advancement in technology, our information is further moving towards the digital world. As a result, cyberattacks have become quite common and costly incidents. It is thus important to prevent data breaches.
A data breach is defined as an incident where information is stolen from the system without any authorization or knowledge of its owner. It involves stolen data that is proprietary, sensitive, or confidential. Such information includes customer data, credit card numbers and other details, trade secrets, and more. As per statistics released by the Ponemon Institute, a company suffers from a data breach at the cost of $3.86 million. This clearly shows how online crime is fast becoming a real threat for any person on the internet.
It is imperative to find out the causes of data breaches so that businesses can protect themselves from this menace. It is slightly challenging but not impossible to anticipate data breaches caused due to the following reasons.
One of the most common and simplest reasons behind a data breach is stolen or weak credentials. Many people take passwords very lightly and use anticipated passwords like Password12345 or use their name. It becomes child’s play for cybercriminals to access sensitive and confidential information.
Cybercriminals are experts in their game and can crack even moderately secure passwords with remarkable ease. They make use of specialized computer programs and run through millions of passwords. The vulnerability further increases if the same password is used for multiple accounts.
Crooks and criminals can conveniently exploit technical vulnerabilities seen in almost all software. Thus, it is imperative for a business to maintain routine programs that help address the problem of these vulnerabilities before the criminals take advantage of them. Fix the vulnerability as soon as possible. When fixing a vulnerability, a patch is released by the software provider that needs to be applied by the businesses using the program.
Cybercriminals use several methods of data breach. Some of these methods are-
In this method, a data breach occurs sans any technology use. It may involve stealing a laptop, theft of important files or papers, and storage devices. Card skimming is another physical data breach example. People who work from home need to take a lot of care of their assets and ensure it is not stolen or compromised.
Many businesses take the threats posed by their employees very lightly, and research indicates that 12 percent of data breach occurs because of the organization’s employee. Thus, when hiring an employee, a proper background search must be carried out. Employees may also misuse information that is legitimately available with us. Thus, a person of strong ethics and morality must be hired.
In this method, cybercriminals may use malware for the data breach. They may use RAM Scraping wherein digital devices’ memory may be scanned to collect sensitive and confidential information. Keyloggers are another way of stealing sensitive information and security passwords.
This is one of the deceptive ways used by criminals to manipulate people. Many fraudsters use this method and act as a legitimate person to dupe people. They use phishing, baiting, and other online data breach ways to deceive people and take advantage of human weakness.
Many times, human errors also result in the data breach. A simple mistake can result in a blunder. Often, employees do not check email addresses properly and mail sensitive information on the wrong ID resulting in a data breach.
SQL Injection and malware are the top reasons and methods used by criminals to carry out a data breach. Associated with coding, criminals resort to hacking and steal sensitive data and information.
There are certain ways to ensure prevention from data breaches. Here are a few ways through which it can be ensured-
The menace and impact of data breaches are growing exponentially due to advancements in technology and information largely shifting to the virtual infrastructure. It is prudent to put several security policies and ways to prevent data breaches in place and make people vigilant about these threats that can prove detrimental to the business and individual interests. Taking timely actions can help protect the business from such costly blunders.
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