Cyber breaches happen so often, that we have now become desensitised to the major cyber activity and security breaches that happen every day. Our cyber data and identity requires immediate attention to make sure it is safeguarded from cyber criminals and surprisingly it’s not hard to prevent a breach.
According to statista.com, in 2018, data beaches in the UK cost businesses an average of £9,260. Not only is the breach costly in term of loss, but also the time needed to deal with a breach. In some cases, a cyber breach can financially cripple a business of any size.
Protecting your data can be simple and easy, and it is important to make sure you keep your digital security regularly updated to reduce to chances of falling victim to a cyber breach.
What is a data breach?
A data breach happens when a cybercriminal (hacker) gains access to private information, such as your identity number, address, medical information, contact numbers, insurance information or even your bank accounts details. On a bigger scale, cyber attacks are aimed at gaining access to company secrets and their bank account details.
Hackers use various types of cyber attacks to gain access to private data and information, and cyber attacks, such as malware and phishing attacks are two of the most common attacks used by cybercriminals. Malware attacks are often seen in the form of a virus, spyware, ransomware or worms. Phishing attacks are set up by sending an email, SMS, or any instant-message to the user and disguising it as communication from a trusted company. Phishing attacks attempt to trick the user into giving personal information, such as login details to your email, or even your banking account.
Why do data breaches happen so often?
One of the most common mistakes found in the world of cyber security is the use of outdated systems and software, which make anyone, whether an individual or a large business, an easy target for hackers. Using weak passwords or not having a password at all makes it even easier for hackers to gain access to the information they want. Using open public wireless networks, or wifi spots can make you very vulnerable to various types of malware attacks from cybercriminals.
We constantly face the threat of data breaches and the more skilled hackers become, the more we need to stay updated with the latest software and put security measures in place to protect our digital data.
What to do when you have a data breach:
Stop and Contain
Once the breach is detected, immediately freeze all accounts and log out of all online accounts. It is vital to stop the attack and shut it down as soon as possible to prevent major damage or loss of data. Immediately changing passwords and making them stronger, by making use of upper-and-lower case letters as well as symbols make it difficult for hackers to gain access. Contact all financial institutions and banks to notify them of your suspected breach and request that a fraud alert is placed on your accounts.
Assess the Damage of the breach
Once the breach has been stopped, it is important to understand how the breach happened and what needs to be done to prevent a breach from happening again in the future.
Also, it’s important to investigate the affected systems so that any malware possibly left by the attacker can be detected.
A data breach must be thoroughly investigated and the following questions need to be answered to assess the full effect of the breach. Only after this can you follow the necessary steps needed to implement stronger cyber security measures:
- How big was the data breach?
- What was the aim of the data breach or the specific data targeted in the attack?
- How was the breach detected?
- The type of data the hackers tried or gained access to?
- How sensitive is the breached data?
- Are there any back-ups and can lost data be restored?
Once the beach is stopped and assessed, it is very important to communicate the breach to any person or group involved, or anyone affected by the breach. This notification of the breach can be communicated via email, SMS or phone calls. It is vital that the date of the attack and the type of breach be clearly communicated, as well as the immediate cyber security steps the informed user must take to prevent any further loss or damage that might occur.
Assessment of Cyber Security Systems
After data breach has been stopped and the damage or loss sustained has been determined, the next step is then to assess and analyse the cyber security software already in place. Security software tests should be done frequently to make sure the software is up-to-date and able to deal with new cyber attacks.
Prepare and Update
Cyber attacks can happen at any time, from anywhere in the world. It is vital to stay updated with the latest security software and update when necessary to safeguard yourself or your business from being an easy target. In the event of a breach, the breach needs to be looked at in great detail and the weaknesses within the current security system need to be identified.
When new security software is used whether for personal use or for business, it is important to understand and communicate new privacy policies, especially with employees. Security workshops and the implementation of agreed policies could be included in the new cyber security plan.
Use External Services
Credit or identity monitoring services are services that alert you to signs of potential identity fraud and helps you resolve any fraud issues. Additionally you can sign up for cyber security management services such as smartmonitorlite. This is a service that helps small and medium businesses put measures in place to prevent things like data breaches happening.
We live in a digital age and even if you don’t use the internet, your information is still out there in cyberspace. We must all be careful when using the internet as our information is unique to each one of us and we need our pivacy. By making only a few simple security updates you can easily make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your private information. Stay alert and stay safe online.