We’re always hearing about data breaches at companies both large and small, old and new, but how does a data breach occur, and how do you know if you’ve fallen victim to one?
A data breach is said to have happened when a cybercriminal accesses sensitive information, either as a result of physically obtaining the information at a computer or remote access. It’s usually in breaching network security that a cybercriminal gains access to sensitive information.
A cybercriminal would start by identifying weak spots in the security protocols of a company, or organisation. This weak spot could be a network, or system with inadequate security, or it could even be a person, vulnerable to coercion. Subsequently, the cybercriminal would make their move on the company, or organisation, by launching either a network or a social attack.
A network attack is said to have happened when cybercriminal misuses weak spots in application security, infrastructure, and systems to gain unlawful access to a network. On the other hand, social attacks are described as the tricking of an employee in order to gain access to the network. Such scams can be very convincing and any employee can be at risk of giving up their login credentials needlessly.
Networks facilitate our personal and professional lives, but it only takes a cybercriminal to gain access to one computer to attack the entire network and extract sensitive information.
Recent data breaches have included Dixons Carphone which lost the data of 10 million customers to cybercriminals in 2018. In 2015 Ashley Madison customers suffered an infamous and potentially embarrassing data breach when cybercriminals gained access to the dating details of 32 million customers. Even blue-chip outfits, such as JP Morgan Chase & Co. aren’t invulnerable to attacks. You’d think that they would have the best security around, and no doubt that they do, but it can still be breached, as was the case in 2014 when the data of 76 million households, as well as 7 million businesses, was compromised in an attack.
There have been some amazingly huge data breaches over the years, but none of them have come close to topping Yahoo’s data breach. In August 2013, 3 billion users had their information stolen, information including email addresses, usernames, telephone numbers, and even passwords.
If you’re only learning of all these breaches now, you may be wondering if your Yahoo account, for example, was caught up in the attack. Luckily, there is an easy way to find out and it doesn’t involve making a visit to Yahoo’s, or anybody else’s, headquarters. Just head over to www.haveibeenpwned.com and enter your email address to discover whether you have been a victim without even knowing about it.
If you’re concerned about your network security, why not get in touch with an expert from INeedanAnswer and see how they can help with additional security measures to keep your data as safe as possible?