Protecting users’ data has never been so important. With stricter penalties now facing businesses for data leaks, it’s important to understand what data breaches are and how to protect against them. Businesses can no longer turn a blind eye as the penalties for data breaches can spell doom for a business. Depending on the type of breach, businesses can be fined up to 4% of their annual turnover for damages caused. To avoid this, businesses need to have measures in place to avoid breaches and strategies on how to handle breaches if they occur.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what data breaches are and how they are caused. Finally, we’ll provide a few different ways to protect your data from breaches, such as using residential proxies and rotating your passwords. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about data breaches.
What Is a Data Breach?
A data breach is a security violation in which unauthorized individuals gain access to your most confidential data. These attackers usually look for existing vulnerabilities within a business’s network security and use these to view and steal the company’s confidential or sensitive data. This can be trade secrets, recipes, customers’ personal details and financial information (bank accounts, passwords, security codes, credit card details).
There is a difference between a data breach and being hacked. It’s important to understand the difference because your response to these situations would be different. A data breach is the unintentional leaking of data, whereas data hacking is an intentional attack to cause damage, chaos and stealing information. Despite unintentional data breaches, businesses can still get fined, especially if it becomes clear that the company didn’t implement security measures to ensure the data is protected.
It’s important to note that it’s not just businesses that are susceptible to data breaches. Individuals can also be targets and can also lead to data breaches. For example, suppose you were to send an email containing your or your family members’ medical information and accidentally send it to the wrong recipient. In that case, that is a small-scale data breach as you’ve unintentionally shared confidential and potentially sensitive information with an unintended person.
Some Of The Biggest Breaches to Date
We may have become desensitized to data breaches and the effects they have. However, statistics published by the Ponemon Institute reported that the odds of experiencing a data breach is 25% over two years. This makes data breaches all too common.
Some of the most well-known data breaches involved big brands, such as Yahoo, which was breached in 2013 and had more than three billion records stolen. Another major data breach occurred in 2017, and in this case, the victim was the credit reporting agency Equifax. In this case, the data of 145.5 million users were stolen. Being a credit bureau, this included sensitive information such as social security and financial information.
A more recent data breach affected LinkedIn in 2021 and caused 700 million users’ data to be stolen and sold on a dark web forum. This data included personal contact information, other personal details, and geolocation information.
Causes Of Data Breaches
Common causes of data breaches include the following:
- Weak credentials such as passwords or the sharing of passwords.
- Back doors and vulnerabilities in software.
- Too many permissions and access is given to staff
- Employee error
How to Protect From Data Breaches
Data breaches can happen at any time as such businesses, and individuals need to take every precaution possible to ensure the security of any data in their possession. Here are a few security measures you can take to protect your data from breaches.
Use Residential Proxies
Residential proxies can help prevent data breaches by concealing your IP address while browsing the internet. This means that hackers can’t track you or discover any weaknesses that could lead to a data breach. All of your sensitive data is stored securely behind the residential proxies.
Keep Software And Hardware Updated
No software is 100% perfect; they all have vulnerabilities. Developers release updates and patches to improve and strengthen any vulnerabilities, making it imperative that you update all your software and hardware frequently.
Conduct Employee Security Awareness Training
Employees are one of the main reasons for data breaches. By mislaying passwords and other credentials or sharing information, they shouldn’t make it easy for data breaches to occur. You’ll need to conduct frequent security awareness training to ensure your employees understand how to work with confidential data and keep it secure.
Ensure Secure Passwords Are Used And Changed Frequently
Ensure that all passwords used are strong and updated or changed frequently. You can also implement two-factor authentication to ensure more secure protocols are in place.
Limit Access To Sensitive Data
Make sure that you limit access to data only to those individuals that work with it. Giving all employees access to your data increases the chances of data breaches.
Data breaches are a security threat facing all businesses and individuals. To protect your data, you need to be aware of how these breaches occur and how to protect yourself by using proxies, antivirus programs and limiting access to sensitive data.