How to Deal with Data Breaches and Cyberattacks?
By Dianne Mariz
When working in the business industries, you are commonly processing a massive amount of digital data. It helps your company to track and monitor the services and transactions that you are processing. Employees usually work on database platforms so that multiple users can have access to modify or save other data entries.
A data breach is one of the common issues of business and other small organizations. This failure might affect the compilation of the files and personal data of the persons involved, such as the customers and business partners. This is a common result of cyberattacks that enable unauthorized persons to access your system, steal your property, and other financial data inside the data system.
Most of the companies or business organizations work on establishing higher security level for databases. It also includes the use of various applications and software to ensure the safety of their valuable data. Moreover, these inevitable occurrences can be properly handled when you have the knowledge about it.
How does data breach occur?
Exploit is a kind of cyberattack that targets the software bugs and vulnerabilities of the system to have unauthorized access to a specific system and its content. These factors are within the codes of the system. Thus, it is a battle between the cybercriminals and data security operators who can first find these vulnerabilities.
Cybercriminals aim to abuse the presence of these bugs and vulnerabilities. On the other hand, the aim of the cybersecurity researchers is to report the exploits to software manufacturers to eliminate those bugs. The most commonly exploited programs are operating systems, Internet browsers, Adobe software, and Microsoft Office applications.
What are the different types of cyberattacks?
To prevent data breaches, you must equip yourself with the knowledge of how cyberattacks form and the different types of it. It will enable you to determine what you will do to manage these cyberattacks. Cybercriminals sometimes prepare various exploits for automated exploit kits. It makes it very accessible for criminals with small or even no technical knowledge to use exploits.
Here are some of the types of cyberattacks:
- SQL Injection (SQLI)
SQLI is a type of cyberattack that manipulates the vulnerabilities in the SQL database management software of unsecured websites. This is to get information from the website of the database, wherein the website should not be releasing it. A cybercriminal uses malicious code in the search bar of the website. Say, they entered a keyword of “best headphones.” Because of that malicious code, instead of giving a list of the best headphones, the website will list the customers and their credit card numbers.
It is a low key type of cyberattack since they are only using minimal technical knowledge. Cyberattackers can also utilize automated software to perform the attack for them. In this regard, they will just be inserting the link of their target website and wait until the software gets the information to do the work for them.
Spyware is a kind of malware that affects your computer and steal personal information such as your details, Internet consumption, and other valuable information that it can get from you. Once your system or website is infected by spyware, it will send all your personal information to the command and control servers handled by cybercriminals.
Cyberattacks caused by phishing through the sensitive information of the users, such as usernames and passwords. The usual phishing attack originates from an email spoofed. Its structure is like something that came from a trusted company or organization. This email contains forceful language that will require you to take action on it.
Therefore, by clicking the given link on the email, it will lead you to a malicious login and gets your username and password. If you don’t have any supporting data security like two-factor authentication, the cyber attackers can get anything from your account. Other forms of phishing that are used by scammers are text messages and social media messages.
- Broken Access Controls
This form of cyberattack can publicize the private information of a given website. Say you have an online clothing website. Back-end folders are containing the private information of the business. Some of these are the details of the customers and their payment information.
Cybercriminals can have access to these sub-folders by using a few well-crafted Google searches. In that way, they can modify and steal the data inside these folders. The good thing is you can easily eliminate and solve this kind of cyberattack.
How to protect your data from breaches and cyberattacks?
Data serves as the main elements of a business enterprise or any other database facility. Since most of the transactions today are happening online, the data is most likely transferring from one location to another. It is a convenient way for business owners to meet and connect potential customers and partners online.
However, it is also a threat and a huge risk to depend on it. There are also dark sides to the Internet, which can affect your business. Here are some of the ways to prevent cyberattacks from intervening with your data.
Educate your employees about cybersecurity principles.
The first impression of online users about data breaches is that those computer hackers created it. Human errors cause most of these data failures. In this way, you must train your employees in the proper way of handling online activities. They must be attentive in protecting valuable data, just like having a firewall setup.
Your team members should be able to determine suspicious emails that are requesting private information. If they have doubts about the sender, it is better to call the sender to ask for its authenticity. Make sure that your organization’s phone and digital devices always require passwords to enable access.
Install, run, and perform regular updates of the antivirus software on each computer.
You can ensure your data safety and security if you maintain proper care of your computer systems. It may be small actions to receive pop-up notifications about upgrading your software. It is an essential way to cut the bridge on where the cybercriminal can get into your valuable data.
The antivirus and anti-spyware applications can help you to work and update the system to combat the latest versions of cyberattacks. However, if the devices are not regularly monitored and updated, they are vulnerable to online attacks that can take down the business in just a single snap. Remind your employees on how single interruptions can affect the whole business.
Utilize a firewall for your Internet connection.
If you want to build high-quality protection for your Internet connection, firewalls are good things to build around your business. This is to block the unauthorized access coming to your computers and networks. The constant safety monitoring that firewalls perform can make your data secured and free from cyberattacks.
Download and install computer programs for your operating systems and applications.
Software updates can somehow provide minimal convenience, just like antivirus notifications. But these can also work on maintaining the security of your information. Make your information technology center as the main facility that can control the intruders and prevent them from entering your systems.
If you are using the older versions of operating systems, you are likely giving them access to cybercriminals to get through your networks and systems. They will be able to access your financial information, customer details, and others. To prevent your system from harm, it is better if you have the new applications to work on. It will enable you to more productive at the same time. It is capable of fighting cyberattacks.
Always have a backup copy of all your valuable business data and information.
You don’t need to think about what-ifs. Always ensure your important data and information with multiple copies on various storage devices. This is to ensure the continuity of the business even if data breaches and failures occur. Having the essential data backups can provide minimal interruption on your business transactions.
Manage the physical access to your digital devices and other network components.
Another way to prevent unauthorized access, which can result in data breaches is to have computer logins after the device is inactive for a short time. Yes, it can be time-consuming to re-enter the passwords all over again. But if you let your system be out in the open by not logging it out, you are inviting cyber criminals to enter your database. This action can help you to get rid of the attention of those whose intention is to get your confidential information.
Ensure the security of your Wi-Fi network.
If you let your Wi-Fi network unprotected, you are making your system vulnerable to cyberattacks. The hackers can use this opportunity as a potential entrance to penetrate your system and search for the valuable information that they can get from you. In this way, your private information is at high risk of getting hacked. That is why you always need to make that your Wi-Fi network possesses good quality of security. Internet connections can be the gateway for the cybercriminal to impose threats on your system.
Make each of your employees create their individual user accounts.
If you are using shared accounts in your office, it is more likely to happen that your employees can share passwords and access. This arrangement might expose the passwords and file contents to more people even though they have nothing to do with it.
Therefore, the data tracking on where the data breach came from would be difficult since several people can open a single account. You can’t exactly tell who has started it. Another thing that could possibly happen is when an employee gets out of the organization they can still access your system. The best technique to do is to require them to have their individual accounts; in that way, they only have one accessible on hand.
Assign access limitation of your employees to important data, information, and even the authority to install applications and software.
While you trust all your employees, not everyone should have access to all of your connections and transactions. Put limitations on the data that they will work only for specific tasks. If they have nothing to do with a certain database, don’t give them access to it at all. Give them only the access for the files that are appropriate for their work.
Also, you should instruct them to minimize downloading and installing applications that seem to be malicious. In this way, you can prevent unauthorized software from running into your systems. Cybercriminals sometimes hide malware on bland applications, which might look legitimate. After that, they can continue their intention of ruining your system if your employees are installing games and other unnecessary software if they might impose a threat to your network.
Conduct regular change of account passwords.
One of the easiest strategies on how to hack a specific system or network is the easy-to-guess passwords. Most of the people are using the same passwords on their multiple accounts. It makes it easier for hackers to get into their accounts, even if only one is compromised. Make sure that your employees are conducting regular changes in their passwords and not utilizing the same password with other systems.
Cyberattack is a serious business problem. This is the reason why the IT teams of organizations are working hard on how to battle malicious websites and data threats online. It also strengthens the capability of the users to distinguish anonymous access within their system.
Data loss is the major effect of data breaches. Cybercriminals’ main goal is to get information from you and use it for their own benefits. Their tools and strategies also change as technology develops. Moreover, you should also get along with this trend to overcome this dilemma.
Once your data is a loss, you will think first how to get it back. This is where data recovery comes in. It will be essential for your system to conduct data recovery as soon as possible. This action might also be the bridge to pursue your operations still even though a data breach occurred.
What are the things that you should do after a cyberattack?
Recovering from a cybersecurity occurrence can be a hard thing to deal with. Most importantly, if the affected set of data can ruin the smooth flow of your business operations. However, you can minimize the conflict to your organization and recover your reputation from the tremendous data breach.
Data backups are essential for any type of database organization. These are some of the essential data that you should have backup copies in case of data failures.
- Word documents and electronic spreadsheets
- Database systems which are related to the valuable files like the customer, business partners, and financial information
- Product designs and manufacturing data
- Operational technology data
- Computer system logs and other IT information
You don’t have to worry about the applications that you have. Focus on your essential data. Ensure data backups by using external hard drives, removable media, or a separate server. The hard drives that you are choosing should have enough space to hold all of your necessary data. Make separate folders for each of your computers so that you can copy your valuable data to different external hard drives.
Evaluate and enhance your data procedures and strategies.
You should assess your original strategies and methods that you utilize in your system. Moreover, improvements should also be implemented if ever cyberattacks infected your company. IT members are given the tasks to trace down the root cause of data breaches. It enables you to modify your usual setup to prevent such malicious incidents from happening again. This action provides readiness that will equip your team to be more vigilant and aware of the online activities that they are dealing with. Data strategies should also go with the trend nowadays.
Inform your customers immediately.
If a data breach happens in your organization , you should inform your customers about it. They have the right to know because it is their information which is at stake. For them not to panic about the data loss, you must ensure that you will take action on it promptly. You should legitimately work on it because the customers’ valuable information is accessed by unknown users who shouldn’t have such. Honest and proper communication is the key to maintain your relationship with your customers despite the data breach.
Digital data is the most useful medium of transactions today. Instead of manually sending handwritten letters that will take days or weeks to receive and respond, it is now just one click away. The use of advanced technology makes people living more conducive and easier.
In the past decades, technology continues to grow. Digital devices expand all over the world, making this generation called the Computer Age. Moreover, just like any inventions or creations, problems will always occur until the very least event you can think of. That is why you should brace yourself with the skills and knowledge on how to counter-attack such tremendous incidents.