Data security threats: Their causes, impact and solutions 

Data breaches have a scary rep for a good reason. They constitute any action that jeopardises the privacy and integrity of a corpus of data. They can occur in businesses and enterprises of any size and while they’re often correlated with third-party malware attacks, they’re also often inside jobs, both wilful and accidental. There’s a wide variety of data that can be exposed during such an event, including bank details, personally identifiable information, trade secrets and many others. 

Sometimes the data leak can bear serious consequences for some of the people that fell victim to it, and they can deal with identity theft and their bank accounts getting drained. In this case, the organisation that didn’t guard the customers’ information more attentively risks fines and court cases, as well as often irreversible damage to reputation. 

Here are some of the causes of data breaches, as well as the most common solutions that can help alleviate some of their impact. 




The causes 

According to recent research, the idea that data infringement events are the result of a hacker launching some form of malicious attack from a dark room is mostly a myth. The majority of the cases happen due to human error. There are many ways in which this can happen. An employee can be either disgruntled or just not very adept at handling tech. Loss or theft of hard drives is one of the ways in which data can be lost. In this situation, the person who comes to be in possession of the physical gadget can also access all the data stored on it. Keeping hardware in a secure place is a good way to prevent this low-tech way of stealing data. In other situations, the employees have the know-how to access the systems. In many cases they are the ones doing maintenance work on the networks, so they wouldn’t be suspected for being around stored data. User actions monitoring is critical for avoiding or minimising the risks in this instance. 

Configuration mistakes can similarly create gateways for cybercriminals. Businesses need to form teams of people that are aware of the importance of data protection. For instance, one of the most common mistakes is an email being sent to the wrong person. In order to bypass this risk you can disable auto-complete, as well as the function of sending emails immediately when connected. Since data is usually transmitted via attachments, you can delay outgoing emails for a few minutes, during which you can perform a double check to be sure everything’s in order. 

Malicious attacks are also responsible for numerous breaches. Ransomware is one of the options that’s most preferred by hackers. The user gets a message alerting them of the hack, with the attacker promising to return the files and documents they’ve gained access to in return for a particular sum. Should the victim fail to comply, the threat lies in their ability to release or sell the data to others. Keyloggers are a lesser-known type of malware. Usually sent via mail, this program records typing. From then on it can decode passwords and then access sensitive information. Phishing uses fake pages that appear genuine to trick individuals to add in their credentials. 



The impact 

Data breaches have many consequences. The targeted company can expect serious damage to their image, while the individual that experienced it deals with a plethora of unlikable consequences. The first and most important aspect if you’re on the receiving end of information violation is to secure your accounts. Change your passwords as soon as you find out. If you used the same or very similar passcodes on more than one account, you’ll have to change it everywhere. If a hacker got their hands on your security codes, you need to be sure to choose passwords that are varied and as complex as possible. You also need to get new ones regularly until you’re sure that the danger is out of sight. 

Identity monitoring can also be helpful. This is a type of service that scans the internet looking for suspicious activity that can point to identity theft. This includes your personally identifiable information appearing on credit applications that weren’t filed by you, as well as on public records, websites or online markets that you’ve never interacted with. To keep your bank data secure, you can enact a security freeze on your credit report so that new accounts cannot be opened in your name. The only downside is that you yourself will have to unfreeze it before you perform new actions on existing or prospective accounts. 

You can also access to get a more detailed explanation into what you can do if you’ve become the victim of a breach. According to statistics, the sectors most affected by breaches are, in order, healthcare, education, finance, local government and retail. No matter which one it is that’s giving you a headache, filing for compensation will be one of the essential steps of recovering from the event. 


The solutions 

Dealing with a data breach is time-consuming. Your team will feel like they’ve got their work cut out for them, but it’s unavoidable. The first thing to do is to segregate all the affected networks to contain the breach and ensure that it doesn’t “bleed out” and infect even more of your digital structures. Next you must focus on running a risk assessment that can establish the extent of the damage on user or system accounts, as well as any backdoors that may have become compromised and which can provide hackers with an entry if they choose to strike again. 

You should also try and patch any vulnerabilities in the system, by replacing the hardware and software and restoring the files from backups you have in place. You can also take this opportunity to determine the security flaws responsible for the infringement. The incident should be preserved for future reference to help prevent the same from occurring again in the future. 

Threats to data are no trifling matter. They have large ramifications and affect numerous people. However, they’re not the end of the world. And with a few strategies firmly put in place, you’ll be able to fix the damage and return to normal. 



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