Organizations that collect, use, store or rely on data face all kinds of data security-related risks in today’s heightened threat landscape. A business data breach is not a matter of if it will happen, it is when and how severe the damage will be. From personal information to social security numbers and accessing mobile devices, the type of data cybercriminals want to access has huge value to them, and can lead to financial loss, business disruption, legal and regulatory fines, and potentially loss of business.
The IBM security survey reports that the average annual expense of a data-security breach for a company that mishandles or loses data is $4.24 million, an increase of nearly 10% from the year before the pandemic. In addition to the initial price tag, the real cost of a data breach goes much deeper, and it can have severe consequences: 60% of small- and medium-sized businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach.
The question more businesses today are asking themselves is how do data breaches occur and what data security strategies to implement to preemptively stop them from happening.
Ransomware has grown into one of the biggest information security issues, with 2.8 billion attacks occurring in the first half of 2022. Ransomware prevents users from accessing data and files by restricting their use. Once ransomware infects your computer, it begins to seek out files and encrypts them with a private key, rendering them inaccessible or unusable. The entity or hacker controlling the malware demands a ransom in exchange for providing you with the decryption key to access your data once you have been compromised.
Victims of ransomware often feel compelled to give in to criminals' demands. However, giving in is rarely a good idea, as you can never be sure that the criminals will honor their word and provide you with the decryption key.
Human error is one of the most common ways businesses are hacked, so extra vigilance is required to ensure that employees are aware of phishing email scams. Phishing email scams, which appear to be authentic emails from a trusted source, ask employees to complete a task that reveals sensitive information, which is then stolen or extorted for money.
3. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
A DDoS attack can cripple a website by making it inaccessible, behave erratically, or load slowly. Hackers exploit internet-connected devices (smartphones, computers, laptops, etc) to turn them into bots and use them to send large numbers of requests to a victim's IP address, overloading the website and causing it to crash. Because these attacks are difficult to differentiate from genuine traffic, they make it difficult to identify compromised devices.
4. Malicious insider attack
Employees are a significant security risk. In addition to making mistakes that allow cybercriminals to access sensitive data, there are unfortunately employees who intentionally try to harm their employer’s business. Malicious insiders are motivated by the same factors as any other sort of criminals, such as revenge, financial gain, or blackmail.
Malware programs are used by hackers to gain information about victims by compromising their devices. After a successful infection, hackers may mine victims' devices for confidential data (email addresses, bank accounts, passwords, etc.) and use them to blackmail, extort, or cause other business damages. Hackers are typically motivated by the same motives as any other criminal: revenge, financial gain, and other personal motives.
Many people are hacked simply because their password is too easily guessed. This type of breach is known as a brute-force attack and is often used by hackers. It is not unusual for people to use passwords such as their street names, pets' names, or birthdays, which makes hacking into their accounts relatively simple.
How to prevent your business from being breached
Protecting your mission-critical data and networks from malicious hackers and disasters can be achieved, but it takes more than a single solution to ensure your business is not breached.
Safeguard your data by:
- Investing in comprehensive cyber security awareness training for all employees across your business, ensuring they are up-to-date on the latest threats and how to deal with social engineering and phishing attacks
- Promoting a security-first culture work environment, that values safe use of applications and devices
- Installing anti-malware solutions, such as next-gen firewalls
- Regularly and promptly updating patches and ensuring all software upgrades are implemented
- Restricting user access controls to data, based on what employees need to access to fulfill their roles
- Secure all endpoints with strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, and endpoint security solutions, including policies on external devices and USBs
- Deploy continuous vulnerability scanning tools to monitor your IT environment and find gaps in your security before cyber criminals do
- Ensuring strong security policies are implemented and a data breach and recovery plan is in place to ensure any potential threats are dealt with immediately with the least amount of damage.
Robust cybersecurity solutions and policies are the best defense against data breaches. The ThreatAdvice Breach Prevention Platform incorporates risk management and vulnerability assessment, alongside comprehensive cyber security awareness training, to ensure your business data is protected at all times, from all angles. Talk to the experts at ThreatAdvice today and reduce the likelihood of your company falling victim to a data breach.