In the US, the average cost of a data breach is $9.44 million. And as cyber threats become more sophisticated, businesses must fortify against various malicious threats to protect their organization and data.
We’ll discuss the most common types of data breaches, how to prevent and detect data breaches in the future, and the importance of data security. Businesses cannot afford to be complacent about cybersecurity strategy. Today’s threat landscape requires constant vigilance to protect your data.
What Is a Data Breach?
A data breach is any unauthorized access, disclosure, or theft of sensitive information from an organization’s database or system. Data breaches can potentially expose personal or confidential data to cybercriminals. It often results in data loss, financial damages, and breach of privacy.
Examples of Data Breaches
Data breaches cost your business financially and are a PR nightmare for restoring your customers’ faith in your ability to protect sensitive data. Some companies never fully recover after a significant data breach.
Some of the most infamous data breaches tarnished the organizations’ reputations for years. In 2013, Yahoo experienced one of the biggest data breaches in US history. It affected over 3 billion accounts and reduced Yahoo’s value when Verizon acquired them.
In 2021, over 700 million LinkedIn users’ data was posted to a dark web forum, exposing 90% of LinkedIn’s users. While no sensitive information was exposed, it supplied many malicious actors with plenty of information to target individuals with social engineering attacks.
In 2019, two Facebook app datasets were exposed, revealing 530 million Facebook users’ phone numbers, account names, and Facebook IDs.The breach was costly and damaged Facebook’s reputation.
Related Link: How To Prevent Cyber Attacks: A Guide For Employers
Common Causes of Data Breaches
Here are the most common ways cybercriminals gain access to data and cause data breaches:
1. Password Re-use with Stolen Passwords
Stolen or compromised credentials are by far the most common cause of a data breach, and it can take the longest to identify that it occurred. When your employees or users have weak or lost passwords, it makes your business data very vulnerable.
2. Supply Chain Integration
Even when your security is tight, supply chain integration can compromise your data. Suppliers and third-party services can get hacked and expose your data. Target experienced a massive data breach from a compromised HVAC supplier.
Utilizing CyberCrucible security solutions, you can maintain the privacy of your network while monitoring effectively for data theft. Our solution can be self-hosted, reducing network access points while still getting the benefit of third-party security.
3. Vulnerabilities in Applications
Hackers can often get access to your data from backdoors to application vulnerabilities. By finding access points in your trusted applications, bad actors can exploit software vulnerabilities found in poorly written code, patches, or application design.
4. Modern Enterprise Environments Are Very Complex
Because large enterprise environments have very complex networks and access permissions, it makes it harder for your security team to protect against hackers. They can often identify users with wrong permissions or missing data permissions that enable a hacker to get in. 45% of breaches happen in an enterprise’s cloud network.
5. Insider Threats and Physical Attacks
Unfortunately, many threats can also come from inside your organization. In complex environments, part-time or contract employees can compromise your network. Layoffs and financial pressure can also motivate employees to threaten your network’s data.
An FBI survey found that 75% of executives have experienced threats from extortionists. And many bad actors offer executives a payout cut for gaining access. Insider threats have risen by 44% over the past two years.
Ways to Prevent a Data Breach
To keep your organization safe, you need to implement several security strategies to fortify against security threats and bad actors.
1. Limit Who Has Access to Sensitive Data
Smart businesses limit who has access to sensitive or critical data. This limits vulnerable access points and narrows who may accidentally trigger a breach. Set up strict access rights, limit the number of people who have access, and then train those employees to spot potential threats.
2. Make Sure Third-Party Vendors Remain Compliant
When working with third-party vendors, you need to vet the organization and limit their access to your network. You must ensure they adhere to strict security practices and comply with your security rules and parameters. This also means you need to create a thorough security process for third-party vendors.
3. Employee Cybersecurity Training
Employees are often the weakest link in your data security strategy because training and teaching your employees about the latest threats can be challenging. Regular training classes for all your employees is essential to recognizing and preventing data threats. We recommend holding security training monthly or quarterly.
4. Regularly Update Your Software
Ensure all software is current on updates and patches. Train and remind your employees to regularly update their software to ensure there aren’t backdoors into your systems. You can also install software that monitors and updates all your software automatically so you don’t have to worry about human error.
5. Create a Response Plan In Case of a Breach
Unfortunately, in today’s landscape and the growing sophistication of data threats, your organization may not be able to prevent all breaches, and you need to have a response plan in case this happens. Your response plan should:
- Evaluate what was lost.
- Determine how the breach occurred.
- Take swift action.
- Limit lost productivity.
- Prevent negative publicity by being transparent about the scope of the breach.
If you need help creating a response plan, you should consider utilizing security tools like CyberCrucible with analysis capabilities to help you create a more robust response plan.
6. Regularly Change Your Passwords
Another tedious but necessary security measure is to change your passwords regularly and to use harder passwords to decipher. When creating passwords, you need to use the following:
- Upper case letters
- Special characters
- Long passwords
This does make it difficult for employees to remember, so you’ll want a backup for recovering forgotten passwords.
How CyberCrucible Protects Against Data Breaches
CyberCrucible is a patented cybersecurity solution that protects your network and data before, during, and after an attack. We created an automated system that leverages our:
- Credential Theft Prevention (CTP) monitors and identifies potential threats and suspicious behavior.
- Deep technical data analysis to evaluate and recommend improved security measures and compliance, as well as identify root causes in the case of an attack.
- Alerts and timely notifications can help stop and mitigate threats and attacks to your systems.
The Importance of Protecting Against Data Breaches
Over the past five years, data breaches and cybercrime accounted for $18.7 billion in losses. To ensure your business doesn’t contribute to this statistic, you need to have a comprehensive security strategy to prevent and detect threats.
Related Link: What are the 5 Pillars of Cyber Security?