By mid-2019, more than 3,800 breaches had been publicly disclosed. But the real shocker was that these breaches led to a whopping 4.1 billion records exposed. The number of reported breaches was up 54%, and the number of exposed records was up 52%, compared to the year 2018.
Apart from that, in 2019, a mega data breach called “Collection #1” became the largest by volume. It exposed about 2.7 billion identity records, consisting of 772,904,991 emails and 21,222,975 unique passwords. This information later became available on the dark web for sale.
In light of such cases, it makes sense for businesses and other agencies to boost their cybersecurity measures. Nonetheless, the best results can only be realized when people fully understand what they are against. So, let's start with a data breach definition.
What is a data breach? It refers to any illegitimate access and possession of sensitive data by a person, team, or even software system. It is a cybersecurity setback that occurs whenever data falls into the wrong hands, either purposefully or unintentionally.
In addition to understanding the meaning of data breaches, learning about the different data issues can help you to find out how to protect your business. So, below are the seven most widespread types of data breaches and how your company can get affected by such actions.
It relates to both human errors or planned actions and can cost an organization a lot to recover. For example, when a worker publishes a prototype of a product, thus, exposing it to the public or selling to other companies.
Such a breach can render all the work a company has been doing useless in no time. Case in point, when competitors access this piece of information, they can launch a similar product at a lesser fee and way faster. As such, it becomes quite challenging for the first business to compete favorably.
It is a case when a business owner or any employee gets a message that their system, either mobile or desktop one, has been hacked. To get it back or keep any sensitive data from being revealed to the public, the receiver has to pay a specific fee to the hacker.
For businesses, such a breach can cost a company millions of dollars, crippling other essential operations.
It is when cybercriminals target account passwords and steal them. To date, it remains one of the most common types of data breaches. This form of info breach is especially easy when people use standard passwords, such as their birthdays, 12345678, qwerty, etc.
Key Strokes Recording
A hacker places malware into your computer to record what you type into your machine. The malware can get into your PC either by the hacker physically installing it or by sending you a link in your email.
With this cyber breach, the owner of the malicious software can get sensitive data, like credit card info, user names, and passwords to personal accounts, among others. That can be very risky to your business, as the cybercriminal can use the information they get to steal from you or release your sensitive data to the public.
Phishing is another common method that cybercriminals use to access people's data. Here, a hacker creates a fake site that looks identical to yours.
For instance, they may build a platform that is similar to Square. They then ask users to log in their accounts to either confirm an update or check out a new feature. As soon as you input your username and password, the hacker gets access to that information and can do whatever they want with your original account. Phishing is pretty prevalent in educational institutions and online money platforms.
A cybercriminal can send a virus or malicious program to your business' computer system to erase your data. Viruses can be quite harmful and costly to any business, especially one that stores most of their data digitally.
There have been cases when large institutions like hospitals have lost most of their data due to a dangerous virus. To avoid these kinds of cyber breaches, install a good antivirus and keep it up to date. Also, don't open spam emails and, most certainly, don't click on links in them.
A denial-of-service attack occurs when legit users are unable to sing into devices, info systems, or any network because of the actions of a malicious hacker. DoS attacks may target online accounts, sites, or even emails.
These attacks are typically directed towards large institutions or corporations rather than people or smaller businesses. DoS attacks can be quite costly, in terms of money and time, to an organization as it may shut down operations for several hours or even days.
Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated in their attacks, which makes to devising a one-off strategy to safeguard your company operation challenging. However, you can avoid most of these possible data breaches by educating yourself and your employees about cyber attack risks, impacts, and mitigation measures. Also, encourage your workers to set strong passwords and keep changing them now and then.
Anzhela Sychyk is a Market Researcher and Technical Writer at TheAppSolutions. She likes to learn new things about modern technologies and share knowledge through value-added content, helping entrepreneurs build businesses in a more effective way.