A data breach could ruin your brand – and your revenue. Let’s take a look at the most common types of data breaches and how they affect they business!
In the past few years we’ve seen hundreds of attacks that have breached the privacy of millions of users. From hacks that have affected universities and their students, to breaches that have compromised information at hospitals, the list truly is limitless.
Types of Data Breaches
- Stolen Information
- Password Guessing
- Recording Key Strokes
- Malware or Virus
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Most companies are not immune to data breaches, even if their software is as tight as Fort Knox. The biggest names in the business, from Verizon to the NHS (the British National Health Service) to Yahoo have faced exposure of user data.
So what are the types of data breaches you should be on guard from? Read on, and we’ll discuss the seven most common types and how they can affect your business.
1. Stolen Information
While you may think this sounds ridiculous, humans are very capable of making errors and they often do. Errors that can cost their company hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Apple has even fallen prey to this when a careless employee left a prototype of one of their new iPhones lying around. Within just a few hours, the specs and hardware of the yet-to-be-released phone were all over the Internet.
Having an employee leave a computer, phone or file somewhere they shouldn’t have and having it stolen, is incredibly common. And it could compromise not only new prototypes you’re trying to hide but also customer or patient information.
Ransomware is when you suddenly get a message stating that your phone or computer has been hacked. In this case, the person will tell you that they will turn it over to you and not release it to the public if you pay a fee. This can be anywhere from nominal to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Many companies hire risk management solution companies to avoid the release or deletion of important or compromising materials.
3. Password Guessing
Another really simple, but incredibly damaging issue is when passwords are stolen. This happens more often than you would think. Some companies leave passwords for computers on notes, allowing anyone to access them, which could leave meddling employees accessing the files somewhere else.
Many people are hacked simply because their password was too easy or guessable. This type of breach is called brute-force attack and is very common method amongst hackers. Often times, people use passwords like the name of their street, pet’s name or their birthday, which can make hacking into their accounts relatively easy.
It goes without saying that if someone has your password, they can go into your files and find any type of sensitive information on your company they desire.
4. Recording Key Strokes
Cybercriminals can insert or email you malware called keyloggers that can record what you’re typing onto your computer. The data is then passed back to the hackers and used to access sensitive data. This can happen at your place of employment, or on your personal computer.
When this happens, they record everything you are typing. This can include credit card numbers, passwords and sensitive information you might enter into a database like names, health data or anything else.
This can be used against your company rather easily, as they will immediately have your passwords as well as company credit card information. They will then use these to release or find sensitive company information.
Phishing attacks come from third-party hackers who create sites that look incredibly genuine. For example, they may make a site that mirrors PayPal, and ask you to log into the site for a necessary change. You will log into it and realize that instead of simply logging in to your account, you’ve accidentally given someone your password.
This scheme is relatively common for universities, and students will often get emails from a third party posing as the school asking them to confirm their login details. Once they do, the hacker then has their login details to do anything they please with them. We’ve also seen phishing attacks target O365 applications such as Sharepoint and OneNote.
Again, a phishing scheme can compromise the safety of any sensitive information you or your company possess.
6. Malware or Virus
Malware or viruses can be sent to people with the goal of wiping their computer. This can be harmful to any company, especially those who rely on their data. For example, if a malware virus was sent to a hospital, it could wipe the data of millions of patients. This could result in a very serious situation, that could even mean the death of some of those inside the hospital.
In order to prevent these types of viruses, don’t click on anything you aren’t sure where it is from. Some companies who require that clients or potential clients email them things will ask them not to attach anything but place it in the body of the email. This prevents them from accidentally clicking on anything that could potentially erase a server.
7. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
This attack is typically only done to larger companies and is often a form of protest. For example, if vigilante justice trolls, like Anonymous, decide that they do not like the way a pharmaceutical company is running and feels it is taking advantage of patients, they can launch a denial-of-service attack.
With this type of attack, they will make it impossible for those at work to sign into the system. While the data isn’t necessarily lost, they force the company to shut down while they deal with the security breach.
This type of data breach typically only happens to larger companies. It does not often happen to individuals, as it takes a very coordinated attack.
How Can I Protect My Company?
There is no foolproof method of protecting your company from any of the types of data breaches mentioned previously. You can educate yourself and your employees on the consequences of data breaches and how likely it is for someone to hack into the system.
You can also ensure that your employees change their passwords regularly by setting time-outs and timers on passwords. You can also remind your employees to keep sensitive information they may carry with them outside of work as safe as possible.