What Are The Different Types Of Data Breaches & How They Affect Your Business?

Swami Nathan Wed, 06/17/2020 - 13:34

More than 6 million records of data breaches are compromised every day, with no immune organization or sector. Organizations are facing a war of data breaches, so it is imperative that ‘know your enemy’ becomes a part of their tactics in the battle.

Data breaches come in different forms and sizes – not all incidents are caused by sophisticated cyber attacks. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common types of breaches to help you understand what your organization is up against.

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach is a confirmed incident involving access to and/or disclosure of sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data in an unauthorized manner. Data breaches include personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), corporate secrets or intellectual property.

Exposures of common data breach include personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and history of healthcare, as well as corporate information such as customer lists, manufacturing processes, and source code software. If someone who is not allowed to do so considers these data, then it is said to have suffered a data breach by the agency tasked with protecting that information. The offending organization may face fines or other civil litigation, if a data breach results in identity theft and/or a violation of Government or industry compliance mandates.

Let’s go through the most common ways that data can be breached by an organization and look at some examples of how it could happen.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks arise when a hacker takes your data hostage for a payment. Often this means encrypting your data, so that you cannot access or read it. That puts production at a standstill for most businesses. Unfortunately, the issue cannot even be resolved by paying the ransom. 45 % of U.S. firms hit by a ransomware attack paid the ransom in 2018, but only 26 % of those firms had their files unlocked.

Ransomware may be delivered, among other avenues, via email, malicious websites, or social media messages. Even if your data is restored, presume that confidential data has been compromised on the affected machines.

2. Keystrokes Record

Cyber criminals can insert an email malware that is capable of recording what you typed on your computer. This can happen at your workplace, or on your personal computer.

When that happens, they record whatever you type. This may include credit card numbers, passwords, and sensitive information that you may enter in a database such as names, health data, or whatever.

This can be used rather easily against your company, as they will have your passwords as well as, credit card information of the company immediately. They will then use these to disclose or find sensitive information about the company.

3. Employee Error

While this may sound ridiculous to you, humans are very much capable of making mistakes, and often do so. Errors which can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to their company.

Apple even fell prey to this when a careless employee left a prototype lying around on one of their new iPhones. The specs and hardware of the still-to-be-released phone were all over the Internet within just a few hours.

It is incredibly common to have an employee leave a computer, phone or file somewhere they should not have and to have it stolen. And it could compromise not only new prototypes that you’re trying to hide but also information about customers or patients.

4. Service Denial

This attack is usually done only to larger firms and is often a form of protest. For example, if vigilante justice trolls, like Anonymous, decide they don’t like the way a pharmaceutical business works, and believe it’s taking advantage of patients, they may launch a denial-of – service assault.

With this type of attack, they’ll make signing into the system impossible for those at work. While the data is not necessarily lost, they compel the company to shut down while dealing with the breach of security.

This type of data breach typically only occurs to larger firms. Individuals don’t really do that, since it takes a really concerted assault.

5. Cyber Attack

Malware can be sent to people to have their computer wiped. This can be detrimental to any organization, particularly those relying on their data. For instance, if a malware virus was sent to a hospital it could wipe out millions of patients’ data. This could lead to a very serious situation, which might even lead to the death of some of those inside the hospital.

To avoid these kinds of viruses, don’t click on anything that you’re not sure where it comes from. Some firms that require customers or potential customers to email them with information and will ask them not to attach anything but to place it in the email body. This prevents them from clicking on anything that could potentially erase a server by accident.

6. Phishing

Phishing attacks come from hackers from third parties, who build pages that look amazingly authentic. They may, for example, make a site that mirrors PayPal, and ask you to log into the site to make a necessary change. You will log in and realise that you accidentally gave someone your password, by simply logging in to your account.

This scheme is relatively common for universities and, as the school asks them to confirm their login details, students will often receive emails from a third party posing. Once they do, the hacker then has their login details to do with them whatever they please.

7. Password Guessing

Another problem which is really simple but incredibly damaging is when passwords are stolen. That happens more often than you would have thought. Some companies leave computer passwords on notes, allowing anyone to access them, which could leave intruding employees somewhere else accessing the files.

Many people are hacked simply because their password has been too easy or easy to guess. People also use passwords such as their street name, pet’s name or birthday, which can make hacking fairly easy on their accounts.

It goes without saying that if anyone has your password they can go through your files and find any kind of confidential information that they want about your business.

How Can Your Business be Protected from Data Breach?

There is no specific method to protect your company from any of the previously mentioned types of data breaches. You should inform yourself and your staff about the implications of data breaches, and the possibility that anyone will break into the network.

Setting time-outs and timers on passwords can also ensure that your employees change their passwords regularly. You should also advise the staff to keep confidential details that they can take with them as secure as possible outside of work.

The only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build is to be vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. If you’d like to know more about how your business can benefit from managed services, just give us a call, we are here to help.

Data breaches affecting millions of users are far too common. Find out how you are vulnerable to data breaches and what you can do to protect your company.

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