What is a Data Breach and How Can You be Safe?

Data breaches and illegal data sharing are becoming more and more rampant. In fact, just last year, multiple tech-giants such as Facebook and Twitter admitted a data breach. Today, data thieves have evolved. They started from targeting small-time companies to global tech-giants, it’s really inevitable.

But how do these hacks and breaches happen? Don’t sweat because today, we will be giving you some of the best tips on how you can save yourself from data breaches. Before we go into that, though, are you aware of how data breaches take place? Do you know how hacks happen?

What is a hack and how does it happen?

A “hack” or a “breach” is simply the unauthorized access to one’s device or system. It’s how cyber-criminals gain access to sensitive and valuable information. Simply put, breaches and hacks are something we do not want.

I mean, who wants their information to be stolen? Well you might be asking the question “how can they happen?” I know, I’m also thinking of the same thing. How can hacks and breaches happen when passwords, security, PINs, all of that protection are in place? There are a few things, actually, that go beyond that.

What/Who causes data breach?

Since a breach is an “unauthorized access,” the assumption is that it’s done by a hacker. Although most of the time, that is true, there are other things or people who cause data breaches.

Hacker

A hacker is the main suspect in data breaches, of course. A hacker is someone who has no connection to you or your company. In many cases, hackers can set-up how they can penetrate your system like honey pots, malware, phishing, etc.

Lost or stolen devices

Your phone got stolen, what do you do? You’re confident that your phone wouldn’t be accessed but what about devices that don’t have security or encryption? Automatically, their data has already been breached.

Companies and ISPs

Did you know that your internet service provider (ISP) stores your internet traffic? This means that whatever you do on the internet, they have a record of it. That’s already data breach because what you’ve done over the internet is only for you to know.

Google is another company who doesn’t respect privacy. For every Google search you made or every activity you’ve done on Chrome, they store this. They use this information for targeted ads to place on websites you mostly visit.

So technically, it’s not just hackers you should be worrying about. There are other factors that make up for a data breach we mostly overlook.

How can a data breach affect you?

From its term, a data breach is not just about gaining your credentials and hacking you. A breach is just one thing – a part of the whole plan. Other than hacking you, here are some of the things that can affect you when your data gets breached:

Unauthorized access

When you become a victim of a data breach, hackers can easily navigate to access other accounts you have. They can use whatever they’ve used to access yours to access other people’s accounts. This can lead to a mass data breach where hundreds, if not thousands of people are involved.

Credentials might be stolen

Cyber-criminals work their ways around data breaches to steal information. Not to mention that that might be how they got access to your account in the first place. The worst is that they might steal your credentials and act as you over the internet. Identity theft is also a risk of data breach, for your information.

Financial fraud

When malicious attackers gain access to your accounts without authorization, it can lead to robbery or fraud. They can use your credit and debit cards for their own sake and steal whatever you have.

Malware infections

The most overlooked act would be the spreading of malware. When a hacker successfully breaches your security, they can use this to spread malware and other unwanted software to your system. From this, it could be a chain of negative things happening on you and your system so beware.

How can you be safe from data breaches?

To be safe from any kind of data breach, you need to be mindful of how you’re protected. You don’t really have to be a cyber-security expert to combat this. In fact, there are a couple of things you can do to avoid data breaches.

Use a VPN

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network, is a kind of a secure connection that prevents all types of leakage and breaches. With a VPN, all of your internet traffic will be encrypted, making your experience smoother and safer.

Update your OS regularly

Developers always look for loopholes in their software. This is why it is imperative to do a system update regularly. A new and updated operating system can help you get rid of unwanted software or people off of your system.

Encrypt all of your sensitive data

Keeping sensitive and confidential data out in the open is not enough. In fact, hackers and cyber-criminals might see this as an open invitation for intrusion of your system. Avoid using storage-sharing software to store sensitive data.

So, try to find a storage that provides encryption for you to safe keep valuable information. If you have a hard drive, back it up there regularly so it’s not anywhere near danger.

Use strong and different passwords

Hackers prey on easy-to-remember and easy-to-decode passwords. A strong password usually consists of a combination of small and capital alphanumeric characters and special symbols. Make sure that your passwords are hard-to-decrypt.

Moreover, avoid using the same password for all of your accounts. This way, cyber-criminals and hackers will find it difficult for them to gain access to your personal accounts.

Data breaches have been happening regularly since the rollout of data-sharing. In fact, it has happened more in a year than the past 5 years combined. Cyber-criminals and hackers are aware that data holds value and that they can profit from it. This is more reason why you should ensure that your data is kept somewhere safe and protected.