You cannot turn on the news without hearing about a data breach of one type or another. It seems that even large firms, including those trusted by millions to keep their private information secure, are falling victim to data breaches. In this post, we will explain what a data breach is, discuss common data breach methods, address some of the latest trends, and then provide information on how a business or an individual can protect themselves from a data breach.
What Is a Data Breach?
A data breach is where data is accessed by an individual who does not have authorization to access said data. Data breaches are devastating to many businesses as well as their customers. They are expensive and can damage the lives of the individuals whose data has been compromised as well as the reputation of the businesses that were tasked with keeping that data safe. Many businesses are unable to recuperate after a data breach.
It should not be surprising to hear about data breaches. As technology plays a more vital role in society and as more information is being stored in the digital world, cyber attacks will continue to become more common and have detrimental effects. It is estimated that a company will lose $148 for every single record that is stole online.
Data breaches can affect anyone who has private information stored on the Internet. Some of the most common information stolen during a data breach include:
- An individual’s name
- Date of birth
- Credit card numbers
- Social security numbers
This type of information is referred to as Personally Identifiable Information. It can be used by cyber criminals to steal the identity of their victims or steal from their victims. While individuals may be victims of cyber criminals, corporations and businesses are prime targets because of the massive amount of information they store.
How Do Data Breaches Happen?
There are a number of techniques that cyber criminals use to get their victim's personal data. Some of the more popular options include:
Hacking Data Breach
This is where malware, ransomware, phishing, or other tools are used to gain unauthorized access to a computer or server.
Insider Threat Data Breach
A company's employees know where their company’s most sensitive data is kept. In some cases, depending on their level of responsibility, they know how that data is protected. This means that employees can be the source of major data breaches. The only way to prevent this is to monitor the data and have the proper security protocols in place.
Physical Theft Data Breach
Spy movies always have that scene where the hero needs to break into the super secure facility to steal a piece of hardware. Many are surprised to realize that while not as dramatic, a similar thing takes place on a daily basis. Physical data theft can be something as simple as inserting a USB drive into a sensitive storage unit and extracting that information.
Learning about the multitude of techniques used by cyber criminals emphasizes how important it is to not just know that data breaches occur but instead to take steps to protect oneself.
Future Data Breach Trends
A new trend in data breaches is that of manipulating data as opposed to simply stealing it. The purpose of this type of attack is to create long-term damage. If a hacker is able to gain access to sensitive information and manipulate it, they can cast a shadow of doubt on the integrity of the institution that has been compromised.
Attacking the Internet of Things is a problem now, and it is likely to continue to be a trend into the future. The next generation of AI powered attacks may be designed in a way that allows them to emulate the behavior of a particular user to the point where security personnel are fooled. This could lead to the creation of complex phishing campaigns that will be able to trick the most security-conscious institutions and individuals.
A current trend that will likely gain traction is using ransomware to attack consumer devices. There could come a time where a person's smart television is infected with ransomware. The owner of the television will be forced to pay a ransom before they will be able to use it again.
One thing that is sure is that cyber criminals will continue to get smarter. They will find ways to circumnavigate security protocols that have been put in place to protect private data. Data breaches will become more complicated and will be harder to prevent without sophisticated data breach prevention solutions.
Recent Large Scale Data Breaches
- Equifax Data Breach
- Marriott Starwood Hotel Data Breach
- Anthem Data Breach
- Experian Data Breach
- Yahoo Data Breach
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