Data Breach

Dealing With Data Breaches

Data breaches are not new. They persisted even without technology. Say you gave an important piece of information or file to a person who wasn’t supposed to have it, your competitor looking through your work. There can be many reasons behind a data breaches. Before it was more physical but now with the advancement of technology we can see different ways of hackers stealing our information and using it for their own good.

There are many ways to prevent data breach but sometimes you can become the victim. What are you going to do then? How are you going to deal with the situation? What you should or should not do becomes the matter of concern then. There are many questions and many possible answers for them. In this article we will discuss the ways to prevent data breach and what to do if you become a victim of it.

Data breach:

When someone tries to steal your confidential and sensitive information by unauthorized means then they are committing a data breach. People share and view that information without the victim’s permission. Hackers target the vulnerabilities of the victim which makes the data breaching easier. There are some vulnerabilities targeted by the hackers like:

  • Third party access can play an important role in data breaching. They can easily make way into your system, no matter how secured your data is.
  • There are many authentication steps used for protecting our systems but there are various malwares which can easily pass through them. These systems are the compromised assets.
  • Payment cards frauds are really common these days. Card skimmers are attached to ATMs for stealing data whenever the card is swiped.
  • Stolen credentials are caused by scams like phishing and are a major security issue. If hackers have your credentials then it is not tough for them to access your bank accounts and online accounts.

Damage caused by data breach:

Data breach can cause damage to anyone, whether the victim is an individual, business or government organization.

  1. Individuals: Identity theft is a really probable crime if hackers have your personal information. Once they get all the important and required information and details about your bank accounts they can do fraud under your name. It is really difficult to fight cases when you are charged under something you didn’t even do.
  2. Government organizations: When it comes to government organizations we should know our nation is at stake. A data breach on government organizations means leaking nation’s secret to foreign country’s organization. This can pose a major threat to the citizens of the victimized country.
  3. Business organizations: When any business organization becomes the victim of a data breach its reputation can be seriously harmed. Many reputed organizations like Yahoo and Target have been the victims of a data breach. Not just socially but this can affect your organization financially.

Preventing data breach:

There are some good ways of preventing data breach like

  • Maintain high level encryption for sensitive information.
  • Update the software as soon as the updates are available.
  • Educate your employees about socially engineered attacks and security practices.
  • Multiple factor authentication can help you build up a strong and layered security system for keeping your credentials safe.
Do’s and Dont’s after a data breach:

If you are a victim of data breaches then you can do or avoid doing the following things

  • First of all do not panic at all. Although the situation will make you scared and anxious but this will only lead to impulsive and wrong decisions. Data breaches have become so common these days that you should prepare yourself for that. Always try to prevent it first but if that doesn’t happen and you still become the victim of data breach then stay calm and think of the possible solutions. Even better if you already make a plan for such situations beforehand.
  • If your organization is facing a data breach then it is your moral duty to inform your employees about it rather than hiding it or paying any ransom to the hackers. It might be a possibility that they will take the ransom and still sell the information on the dark web or even worse, they won’t stop blackmailing you and tarnish the reputation of the organization.
  • You should never misinform anyone about the breach who is trying to help you. Like in an organization whenever such a situation occurs assembling your team ad planning what to do next is a wise option. Gather people from the HR department, public relations, and legal team too.
  • When you know a breach has occurred then try to know its extent like the data (name, bank details, email address etc.) involved and the number of compromised records.
  • Know how was your data exposed and cut the source off, both via your network and physically. If an app vulnerability is a reason then take it offline. After this implement your prepared plan.
  • Notify the affected individuals if really important. Also, make sure to inform senior authorities within 72 hours of being aware of the breach.
  • If the situation is under your control then assess the damage and work out if you need to inform the superior authority or not. You should inform them if the breach poses a high risk on any individual or risks the rights and freedom of any living person.
Data Breach

What is the reason behind a Data Breach?

You wake up one morning and get notified that your bank details have been breached? Hackers now know all the important details about you? It means that you have been a victim of data breach. You may think what is it and how does it occur? Obviously there will be so many questions regarding data breach and you get your answers from this article.

Data breach is often understood as identity theft. Although the two are related but not the same. There is a possibility of data breach turning into identity theft. It will not happen every time that if your personal information is stolen then hackers will use it to commit identity theft. To sum it up data breaches may or may not lead to identity theft.

What is a Data breach?

Data breach is a type of cyberattack in which hackers/cyberattackers get unauthorized access to your private information. Data breaches can happen anywhere. Ranging from second party retail stores to third party business it can take place anywhere to anyone.

As mentioned above data breaches can happen to anyone at anytime but how does it occur? Let’s have a look at the three steps in which a data breach takes place:

  1. Research: The starting phase or the research phase of the database is when the hackers search for weakness/vulnerabilities in the security system of their target company.
  2. Attack: The research phase is followed by the attack phase. Now that the attacker knows the target’s vulnerability he/she can attack them in two ways, I.e., social or network attack.
  3. Social attack: It is a type of attack in which a hacker uses a scam, like a phishing scam for baiting its target. Their main is to get access to a network or lure the bait into opening an attachment carrying the virus.
  4. Network attack: Cybercriminals use this method to break into an organization’s private information through their security system or infrastructure.
  5. Exfiltration: The final phase of data breaching is exfiltration in which the hacker finally gets access to the target’s system. The hacker may or may not have access to the data right now but can have it with ease. The attack is successful after all the required information is extracted.

The reason behind data breaches

After knowing the process of data breaching another important thing to know I how it happens. There is no single reason for this. The reasons why data breaches occur are:

  1. Malware/Virus: Malware is used by many hackers for different purposed and one of them is data breaching. For example, RAM scrapers are used for scanning digital devices and extracting sensitive data from them. Keyloggers are used for capturing the keys struck on the keyboard so that they can steal passwords and other important information.
  2. Criminal hacking: One of the top causes of data breaching is criminal hacking. If a criminal wants to hack into an organization’s system, he/she can use techniques like SQL and Malware injection. Most of the criminal hackings involve stolen credentials which doesn’t require any special hacking skills. You can purchase that information on the dark web, use password generating machines to crack them, guess them and more. Hackers can use this information in many ways like selling it on the dark web, using it to commit fraud or phishing scams.
  3. Human error: Your information is not always stolen by some hacker, sometimes it is the fault of an employee. They may send sensitive information and credentials to the wrong person, mailing wrong attachments to someone etc. Misconfiguration can also be a human error when they leave a database containing important information without any password.
  4. Unauthorized use: Another reason for data breaches is the unauthorized use of information by the employees of any organization. They can misuse it in two ways
  5. Data mishandling: When an employee is unauthorized to access some information and still does that. Or when some employee access, copy, share, and steal a sensitive piece of information.
  6. Privilege abuse: When an employee stumbles upon information he/she wasn’t supposed to. It can happen because the organization didn’t set up appropriate security measures for that. It can also happen when an employee doesn’t follow the correct procedure and alters a file/document.
  7. Outdated systems: More than half of the data breaches occur due to hacking but what makes a hacking process easier? Our own system’s vulnerabilities like outdated systems are the reason behind that. The software must be maintained and updated from time to time which increases its security.
  8. Pretexting: Pretexting is a way of scamming people just like phishing. But they are quite different. Both in phishing and pretexting hackers contact their targets to gain important information. In phishing, malicious links and attachments are sent but in pretexting, hackers call their target too in order to steal information.