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Security breaches come in all shapes and sizes, from large-scale attacks on corporations to small-scale attacks on individual users. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the most common types of security breaches, and what you can do to protect yourself.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive, confidential, or personal data is accessed and/or stolen by unauthorized individuals. Data breaches can occur when hackers gain access to a company's network or when sensitive data is left unsecured. The difference between a general cyber-attack and a data breach is getting access to sensitive information. For example, something like a denial of service (dos) attack wouldn’t be considered a data breach. The impact of a data breach can be severe, ranging from a damaged reputation and decreased customer trust to financial loss and data theft.
Data breaches are becoming more and more common, as hackers become more sophisticated, companies increasingly store sensitive data electronically. To protect your company and your customers, it is important to be aware of the risks of a data breach and to have a plan in place to respond if one occurs.
How much does a data breach cost a company?
A data breach can have a significant financial impact on a company. The cost of a data breach depends on several factors, such as the size of the breach, the type of data involved, the number of customers affected, and the steps taken to mitigate the damage.
On average, a data breach costs a company $3.92 million. However, the cost can range from $87,000 to $8.64 million, depending on the severity of the breach. The most expensive data breaches have involved customer credit card information, which can lead to costly fines and lawsuits.
Most common types of data breaches
1) Phishing-related data breaches
In recent years, there has been a rise in phishing-related data breaches. This is where attackers use fraudulent emails or websites to trick users into giving them sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial data. Once the attackers have this information, they can use it to gain access to the victim's accounts or to commit fraud.
Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated and are difficult to detect. That is why it's important to be aware of the signs of a phishing attack and to know what to do if you receive a suspicious email or visit a suspicious website.
The best way to protect your business from a phishing attack is through user awareness training. This is where you teach your employees how to identify phishing attacks and report them to the IT staff within your company. You should also have a policy for dealing with phishing attacks that mandate the change of employees' passwords if they are a victim of a phishing attack to limit the chances of a hacker accessing their accounts. Lastly, multi-factor authentication can also be a good way to make user accounts more resilient to compromise from phishing attacks.
2) Internal Threat Data Breaches
An internal data breach occurs when an employee or contractor of an organization unlawfully accesses or shares sensitive data. Typically, this will be a malicious insider (someone that works for a hacker organization), a disgruntled employee, or, an employee that simply makes a mistake that results in a data leak.
Internal data breaches can be extremely damaging to an organization, as they can lead to the loss of customer trust, financial losses, and reputational damage. That's why organizations must have systems and procedures in place to prevent and detect these types of breaches.
One of the best things you can do is to implement the principle of least privilege. This means limiting the amount of information an employee has the access to within the company to what they need to do their job. This way it makes it harder for someone to cause a data breach intentionally or accidentally. Secondly, it's important to have good procedures in place for employee termination. Employee access needs to be revoked immediately after making them aware of their termination to prevent them from taking malicious action out of the negative emotions of being fired.
3) Ransomware-related data breaches
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's files and demands a ransom be paid to decrypt them. In recent years, ransomware has become a major problem for businesses and individuals alike, as more and more people are falling victim to this type of attack.
Ransomware-related data breaches can have devastating consequences for businesses. Not only can they lose access to their important data, but they can also be forced to pay a ransom to the attackers to get the data back and prevent the hackers from posting that information online. In some cases, businesses have even been forced to close due to the damage caused by a ransomware attack.
Defending against a ransomware attack means having good security controls to prevent malware from being put into your environment. Some common best practices include having good patch management to ensure your systems are up to date, good endpoint antivirus to detect and contain malware on your system endpoints, good network segmentation to isolate an infection if it does occur, and having good data backups and computer images to restore your systems with if you are infected with a ransomware attack.
4) Advanced Persistent Threat related data breaches
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of data breaches that have been attributed to Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs are sophisticated, targeted attacks that are carried out by threat actors to steal sensitive data or gain access to critical systems. The reason they are called persistent is that they can sit on a network for months or years undetected, consistently stealing company information and intercepting communications using techniques like a man-in-the-middle attack.
While APTs can be difficult to detect and defend against, there are steps that organizations can take to reduce the risk. One of the best ways to do this is to implement a routine of consistent threat hunting. This is the process of checking your network for any sign of compromise that has gone undetected by your security controls. This should be done routinely to identify potential APTs sitting on your network.
As technology advances, so do how criminals can access your personal information. It is important to be aware of the different types of security breaches that can occur and to take steps to protect yourself. This article has outlined some of the most common types of security breaches. To receive more tips on how to protect your personal information, subscribe to our newsletter.