As more companies and industries continue to embrace digitization due to global technology advancement, data has become a valuable asset. Despite the measures put in place by organizations to safeguard the data of millions of people, businesses and individuals are still vulnerable to data breaches due to bad password habits, human errors, and similar.
The increased use of technology in daily life means hackers have several ways they can explore a data breach. Sixty (60) percent of digital frauds happen on mobile devices and this is expected to increase, as CISCO estimates the number of networked devices on Earth will triple the number of humans by 2023.
It is important to understand how data breaches happen, to explain this, here are 5 common causes:
- Phishing – One of the many ways by which hackers gain access to vital information is through phishing. Phishing is a type of social engineering where unsuspecting victims are deceived with malicious emails or links to execute a task that will interest them. Once these links are clicked, hackers have access to important data and can carry out an attack.
- Weak Passwords – It is common practice for people to want to maintain the same password across all platforms, this is a bad practice and it is one of the easiest ways for data breaches. Individuals also use passwords that are easily predictable by online criminals.
- Loss of Device – Cybercriminals are very intentional in their dealings and can go as far as stealing unsuspecting people’s devices such as laptops, phones, storage devices, etc. Once the cybercriminals have access to the stolen devices, they can easily access unencrypted data.
- Spyware – Spyware is a malicious software designed by cybercriminals to steal data without the consent of the victim. Spyware can be installed over the internet unknowingly and acts as the intermediary between the victim’s computer and the hacker.
- Human Error – As humans, we are prone to making errors. Sending a document, an email or a file to the wrong person can lead to a colossal data breach. Human errors have led to big losses for companies and individuals that take many years to recover from.
How to Make Your Data Safe and Protected
To prevent a breach of data privacy, a holistic approach strategy involving everyone that interacts with a system must be taken. A data breach can come anywhere inside an organization, from any employee, or from at home from any device that interacts with a system.
Below are some best practices to tighten security and keep your data protected:
Use Strong Passwords
We’ve already explained how weak passwords are one of the gateways to which cybercriminals have access to private data. It is very important to have password habits that lay emphasis on using strong passwords with different characters. Using the same password across different devices or platforms does not follow the best practices to safeguard your data.
Activating a two-factor authentication for login interfaces means cybercriminals have an extra layer of security to bypass before finally gaining access. Most applications or important platforms have the option for users to enable two-factor authentication and this goes a long way in preventing a data breach.
Organizations should always educate their employees on how social engineering attack works and ways to prevent them. Training can be organized with the I.T department where examples of suspicious emails or links are shown in order to prevent employees from falling victim.
Regular Software Updates
Software updates and patches are important. Developers and companies release software updates for their applications in order to fix bugs and prevent any loopholes hackers may exploit. Individuals and organizations should always update their systems to the latest versions as soon as possible.
Even if devices are stolen, if they are encrypted properly, the data will be of no use to hackers. It is very important to encrypt sensitive data.
Having explained everything concerning data security and breaches, it is important more than ever to keep your data secure. In the wrong hands, an organization or individual’s data could do a lot of damage.