7 Types Of Data Breaches & How To Prevent Them
We live in the age of information. Personal data on all of us is stored throughout databases and servers throughout the world. Large-scale corporations, companies we work with and businesses we’re signed up to all hold valuable, personal data — and we trust that they’ll protect it at all costs.
But the fact is that data breaches happen all the time. Even with the best protections in place, malicious actors continually seek to infiltrate and steal your data. And the way cybercriminals do it and the volume they attempt to do it continues to increase.
It’s important, especially if you’re a business that holds any amount of data on subjects (even as minute as an email address), that you know about these seven types of data breaches and how to prevent them. As a well-established and experienced company providing IT support in London for clients of all shapes and sizes, we want to help you get a foot up on these malicious actors and protect the valuable data you hold on your employees and your data subjects so that you can avoid the potentially massive financial penalties and business operations consequences.
A breach is an unauthorised access by definition. But this is a particular scenario that most of us imagine when we think of a data breach.
An expert cybercriminal can gain unauthorised access through a variety of avenues, navigating around firewalls and other defence systems, or taking advantage of access databases. Some of the most common methods of cybercriminals gaining unauthorised access are through phishing, spyware and other techniques they can use to gain access to private networks.
Oftentimes these common types of unauthorised access happen because of human error. This is especially true for phishing and spyware attacks because these can be easily noticed and avoided by those who are aware of the signs. The best way to prevent unauthorised access in this way is employee training. You can hire professional IT support services that can provide employee awareness training to help prevent the most common cyberattacks and prevent breaches before they have a chance to gain a foothold.
The incidence of ransomware attacks has been on the rise for some time, and they can be particularly devastating.
Ransomware attacks put a lock on a computer system. The hacker then demands a ransom to release the valuable data they’ve ceased. The first signs of a ransomware attack are not being able to access data or files and being notified of the need to make a payment ( being held to ransom) so they’ll release the data.
The key to preventing ransomware attacks is not allowing the hackers to get a look in. Only click known, trusted links. Never visit untrusted websites (especially if you don’t have good antimalware installed). Don’t disclose personal information. Keep your systems and software up-to-date. And always use a VPN on public Wi-Fi networks when working remotely.
The uncomfortable reality is that most of the internet is used for malicious or bad intent, and it’s surprising how many data leaks lead to accidental exposure of private data. Copies of sensitive data not properly cared for can easily be transferred and stored in places and websites they shouldn’t. When data is exposed to the public, malicious actors can take advantage.
To prevent accidental exposure of valuable data, you should take a more cautious, zero-trust approach. Don’t assume your antimalware suite is going to mitigate all risks. Restricted access should be placed on all databases that store sensitive data. 2FA (two-factor authentication) should be used on all passwords. And staff awareness training can prove vital to preventing any data leaks and exposure that could spell disaster.
Some of the most intelligent cyberattacks are the slickest. A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is when an attacker masquerades as a trusted third party and steals data from a computer or network.
Wearing a mask and pretending to be who they’re not, they can slip by and steal the most private of data. Names, email addresses, dates of birth, financial information and other types of personal information can be at the mercy of these dark rogues.
Preventing MITM attacks is accomplished by ensuring the basics of security are in place. A secure network connection is a good place to start. Install 2FA for passwords. Use a VPN when on public networks. And keep everything, including your network, fully updated with the latest software and security patches.
With this type of data breach, the clue’s in the name. Open networks without proper encryption are one of the most common ways that cybercriminals are able to leach personal data. They move them through the networks, sometimes in large batches, moving crucial data through network pipes.
The key to preventing data on the move is to ensure all your networks are properly encrypted. This is standard today, but sometimes network settings change or security updates interfere. It’s worth checking your networks are encrypted every six-to-twelve months.
SQL injection attacks are notoriously vicious. In these attacks, malicious code enters a system through SQL instead of HTML data. The attacker’s malicious code breaches a system through a database.
The most common find in successful SQL injection attacks is that they gained access through a web app database as a trusted third party. It’s vital, then, that you verify the data shared with third parties through your web apps aren’t being shared with unauthorised individuals.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks are similar to SQL injection attacks. Attackers send malicious code to a web app, aiming at XSS vulnerabilities that may give them a backdoor to come in through.
Thankfully, XSS vulnerabilities which lead to these types of malicious code attacks are generally easy to identify. You can prevent these types of attacks by ensuring a strong web application firewall is in place and ensuring only filtered, allow list data can make changes to code on the web.
These are just seven of the most common types of data breaches and how to prevent them. There are some common themes here that we’ve detailed to maximise your protection such as using a strong firewall, ensuring your systems and networks are up-to-date and staff awareness training.
As a company providing the best IT support in London, we can give you the guidance, advice and practicals to establish powerful fortification from all angles that can prevent data breaches. We recommend your business doesn’t take the risk. Invest now and help prevent a future attack that could prove devastating to protect your business.
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