Data is the most important asset that anyone has in the world. Millions of TBs of data are there on the internet that is not sufficiently secured.
Sensitive information of companies, organizations, 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.
A data breach happens when an unauthorized person gets access to sensitive, confidential, or protected information of an individual or company.
Now, this unauthorized 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 breaches. 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 users 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 organization.
Some major reasons behind a data breach are:
- Weak Passwords
- Drive-by downloads
- Brute Force Attacks
- Third-party access
- Payment Card Fraud
- Weak Passwords: Sometimes, we are using a used password that can be easily cracked by using a software. Hackers can easily gain access to your valuable data including email, phone number, etc. This is the most common cause of data breaches.
- 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.
- Brute force attacks: In a more brash approach, hackers might enlist software tools to guess your passwords. Brute force attacks work through all the possibilities for your password until they guess correctly. If your password is weak, it might only take a few seconds to crack it.
- Drive by downloads: This type of attacks specifically refer to malicious programs that install to your devices without your consent. This also includes unintentional downloads of any files or software onto a computer device.
- Malware: Hackers put malware into your system so that they can steal your private data. These malware can be placed anywhere, let it be an operating system, software or network.
- 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.
- Payment Card Fraud: Card skimmers attach to gas pumps or ATMs and steal data whenever a card is swiped.
How to Stay Safe From Data Breaches?
A usual Data Breach takes almost 7 to 8 months to be detected and till then, the hacker may have accessed all the personal information of an individual or company.
Although, a data breach harms you only when the hacker sells your data in exchange for money. Whenever the data gets dumped into the public domain it causes serious damage to the reputation of big companies or organizations. Security is the only way through which these breaches can be prevented.
Here are a few tips that you can use to avoid a Data Breach.
- Keep software Up-to-date
- Use high-grade encryption for sensitive data
- Never open unknown URLs or websites (like .xyz or .abc)
- Stronger credentials must be used
- Use secure passwords
- Use different passwords for each account
- Change your passwords regularly
- Use Two or Multi-Factor Authentication
- Use secured networks
- Always fill your sensitive information in secure websites like HTTPS
- Close accounts you don’t use
- Don’t share Sensitive information on social media
- Carefully read and examine security popups on the web before clicking
- Enable ad-blocker in your browser settings
- Calls informing you about reward point offers, gift vouchers, holiday coupons, lottery, etc. that you have won and thus asking your sensitive information like card details, password or OTP, should be avoided.