Nowadays, data is the most important asset that anyone has in the world. Millions of GBs of data is there on the internet that is not sufficiently secured. Sensitive information of governments, organisations and individuals is at great risk because of not having proper encryption. Whenever data is leaked out, it is termed as a Data Breach. A tiny security lapse can lead to a massive data breach. Recently, Mobikwik and Facebook suffered a major data breach and the data of millions of users was leaked out.
What is a Data Breach?
A data breach happens when an unauthorised person gets access to confidential, sensitive, or protected information of an individual or a company. Now, this unauthorised person can share that delicate information with anyone without the owner's consent. When we have devices connected to the internet, there is always a probability of data leakage. This is because the more we are connected, the more we are insecure. So, we are required to be digitally sound to guard ourselves against data breaches. First, we have to understand the reasons behind a data breach.
What Causes a Data Breach?
Several flaws in technology and some mistakes done by user are major causes of a Data Breach. Not all the times, a hacker or an outsider is responsible for data breaches, they also happen due to loopholes in an organisation. Some major reasons behind a data breach are:
- Weak Passwords: This is a common cause behind data breaches. Sometimes, we are using a similar or used password that can be easily cracked by using a software. Here, the hacker can easily gain access to your valuable data.
- Malware: Hackers put malware into your system so that they can steal your private data. These malwares can be placed anywhere, let it be an operating system, software or network.
- Phishing: Phishing attacks come under social engineering, these people fool you by posing someone that you would easily trust. Phishing attackers try to obtain sensitive information from yourself and you should be aware of them.
- Card Skimming: ATMs or petrol filling stations have some devices attached to the card readers so that whenever you swipe a card, it records your payment card information.
- Third-party access: Third-party data breaches happen when delicate data is stolen by a third-party vendor. This means third parties use their resources to steal information stored on your systems. Third parties affect your cyber-security in one or the other way.
- Remote Working: Work from home has been very prevalent due to the COVID times and it has caused sharing of highly sensitive information through the internet as that is the only medium. Now, this important data regarding companies can be altered by some middle-man very easily causing serious harm to the organisation.
How to Stay Safe From Data Breaches?
A usual Data Breach takes almost 5 to 6 months to be detected and till then, the hacker may have accessed all the information. Although, a data breach harms you only when the hacker sells your data to gain financial benefit. Whenever the data gets dumped into the public domain it causes serious damage to the reputation of big organizations. Security is the only way through which these breaches can be prevented. Here are a few practices to avoid a Data Breach.
- Keep software updated
- Use higher encryption
- Instruct employees
- Stronger credentials must be used
- Change passwords frequently
- Multi-Factor Authentication is a must
- Use secured networks
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