Everyone has a digital trail these days, which means everyone is at risk of a data breach. The risk may be small, like a computer virus that will most likely be caught by the virus scanner on your computer. Or the risk may be much more significant, such as having your identity stolen or a bank account hacked. Cybercrime is rampant, and cyberattacks remain in the headlines. Luckily, the importance of cybersecurity is clear, and there’s plenty you can do to educate yourself, so you stay safe.
Let’s take a look at the top five most common data security breaches and how to protect yourself
Top 4 Most Common Data Security Breaches: Protection & Prevention
While there is a myriad of ways cyber attacks can negatively affect you, there is also a myriad of ways to protect yourself. Here are the four most common security breaches and best practices to help keep you safe and secure.
Ransomware encrypts your files and holds them hostage until you pay a ransom to get the decryption key to unlock your files. Dollar amounts vary, but the source is generally phishing emails. That means you allow the software onto your computer when you open an attachment from an unknown or disguised source.
The best ways to prevent ransomware include:
- Keep your operating system and antivirus software updated on every single device.
- Have a clear policy about avoiding outside emails and attachments from unknown sources.
- Make sure the antivirus software you use can detect ransomware.
- Back-up all files. You can store your files yourself on a separate on-site server, or you can hire a service to manage and store your back-ups for you.
Ransomware is just one type of malware. There are many types of malicious malware to protect yourself from including viruses, trojans, spyware, and more.
The best malware preventative measures include:
- Again, always keep antivirus software up to date on all computers.
- Maintain a policy to avoid clicking on or downloading anything that isn’t from a trusted source.
- Always look for the padlock. Websites will display a small padlock icon in the URL bar, indicating that the site is safe.
Three: Unauthorized Access
Unauthorized access means someone can see and use sensitive information such as passwords, logins, and data specific to your identity. Networks, applications, devices, and more can all be accessed if security measures aren’t in place.
A few best practices to implement include:
- Maintain a strong password policy. Using a password generator, insisting on alphanumeric passwords, and changing passwords every 30-90 days are good for security.
- Implement two-factor or even multi-factor authentication.
- Always lock doors and either shut down or put computers to sleep when you walk away. Require a password to regain access to any device.
Four: Denial-of-service (DoS) Attacks
A denial-of-service, or DoS, attack means users can’t access their devices, websites, email, online accounts, or other information. While there may be a ransom demand, this is less about ransoms and more about wreaking havoc and causing costly repairs.
There a few ways to protect against DoS attacks:
- Create a disaster recovery plan that specifically addresses DoS attacks.
- Enroll in a DoS protection service that will detect the flow of traffic and filter for abnormal or potentially harmful network traffic.
- Maintain antivirus software that will help detect DoS attacks and tracks the flow of traffic.
- Use firewalls to limit potentially harmful traffic.
- Periodically evaluate security settings on all devices to ensure everything is up to date.
The Damage A Data Breach Can Cause
Data breaches are no small matter. They can affect individuals and organizations, both big and small. While some hope to gain money or an identity to steal, some are just created to cause harm.