What Is A Data Breach

It is not for nothing that the age we live in is called the Data Age. Data defines the modern world. Data Science dominates all aspects of commerce, science & technology, and even religion and faith, these days. Much of this data is confidential, and can be disclosed only at the tragic cost of living and life itself. Nations guard against breach of their high-security data with the lives of their soldiers and citizens, while individuals try to protect their intimate and confidential data with their own persons. It is therefore essential for us to study this phenomenon, by trying to answer the question, what is a data breach?

The Value Of Data

The commercial world is perhaps the best example of the value of data, and the cost of data breaches. It is said that the very value of a company depends on its data, and its ability to secure this data. Recently, Target, a billion-dollar company specializing in Credit Cards, found that literally millions of numbers and internal data of credit cards were stolen, in the Q4 (Quarter 4) of 2013. The results were truly tragic. Furious customers savaged the reputation that Target took many decades building, and the customer count dropped sharply by over 10% almost immediately the news of the loss broke. The Quarterly results showed a precipitous drop of 16% in profits. Target is still fighting to regain its old glory, and may still not survive the ferocious competition in the market, with its reputation in tatters. And now, eBay is the victim of another massive Data Breach, and observers are waiting with bated breath to see what the future will hold for this behemoth of the online retail business.

Data Breaches Explained

But, what is a data breach? A Data Breach is defined as the deliberate, intentional, malevolent or even unintentional & accidental release of highly private, delicate and secure information to an environment that is untrustworthy, insecure or uncontrolled, or all of these, and so provide access to unauthorized individuals or groups for whatever purpose or profit that may be sought. The access of information without authorization can hurt business and consumers in numerous ways. It can damage the reputations and the lives of the sufferers immensely, sometimes irreparably. But that in itself must not surprise us. As we transcend the Digital World with the Data world next, impossible masses of potentially sensitive data now occupy our Data storages. Criminals can and do penetrate the Data Stores wherever they can, and are bent on creating the maximum damage. The most common target of these malevolent forces are personally identifiable information, such as full names, social security numbers and credit card numbers. Personal Finances figure as a close second. The huge corporations and monolithic business formats that are increasingly more popular these days in view of their efficiency and competitiveness, are the topmost targets to cyber criminals, because of the large masses of data that can be stolen at one go.

Typical Targets

  • Weak Passwords: The casual or careless use of hackable passwords make it easy for hackers to penetrate accounts. Whole words or phrases are a typical mistake, which hackers find easy to guess. Unique and complex passwords based on individual background experience or isolated memories are always far more difficult to hack.
  • System Vulnerabilities: The use of outdated or outmoded software can itself create weak points for cyber criminals to exploit, and sneak in malware time-bombs for misuse at a convenient moment. They often target specific platforms in which users like anonymity such as adult apps and free local fuck sites. Such was the case with the highly publicized Ashley Madison data breach.
  • Drive-by Downloads: The unplanned or unsolicited browsing of unknown websites, and downloading of software, application or browser that is not fully secured in advance or screened suitably, can result in this type of Data Breach, which can be quite murderous in effect.
  • Targeted Malware Attacks: These attacks are the result of positive malevolent sources, that use phishing and spam and fake emailing tactics to penetrate the user’s guard. Avoidance of links with unfamiliar sources is a must. Once infected, malware can not only damage the computer it has entered, but also the links to which the computer subscribes, and spread the infection far and wide.

Protective Steps

Some steps users can take take to cover themselves are:

  • Strong and secure Passwords are a must. Consider using a password generator.
  • Bank and other financial accounts must be monitored at regular intervals, and sometimes suddenly also, to detect any malfunction or strange behavior.
  • Credit Reports must be checked regularly, and credit cards are bound by law to provide credit reports at least once every 12 months or on demand.
  • The heart of modern communications is the mobile phone, and this must be secured immediately against Data Breaches.
  • Maintain high security in choices of software, URLs, and files.
  • File backup, and wiping Hard Disks are a must.
  • Take instant action whenever a Data Breach is detected.

Protecting Your Data

Just as the use of the Cyber System has become ubiquitous, the Dark Layer is also increasing to epidemic proportions, almost like a disease. The penetration by Cyber Crime has also blossomed into a poisonous plant that has spread its spores throughout. Data is being evilly hacked or malevolently perverted or even deleted willfully, putting the complete Data Environment into peril. It is predicted that Cyber Crime will cost up to US$6 Trillion by 2021. The intense insecurity over protection of data has increased anxiety levels steeply worldwide, and is threatening to bring down the whole System as in a catastrophic universal landslide. Here are a few Tips To protect Your Data that may lay at least some of the worries to rest.

Some of these Tips To protect Your Data are as follows:

  • Secure Communication: The use of more secure channels in preference to the others is often a good way to prevent subversion. A fine example is WhatsApp security channels, which use encryption (i.e. crypto coding) to prevent hacker access to interpersonal communication. It also allows tailored communications to customers and branches by companies, and allows them to transact business without hindrance or sabotage. The end-to-end encryption provided by some security conscious companies with strong technological bases is ideal for data protection, and is now being increasingly used everywhere.
  • Adding Authentication: The act of adding layers of Authentication protects customers by making penetration of their confidential data by ill-intentioned manipulators more difficult. Real protection consists of many layers. 2FA, or Two factor Authentication, or Mobile Identity, or both, can add to the security of data. 2FA can be applied through SMS, chat apps, push and voice notifications. One-Time PINs for users create an additional Layer of Authentication. These were originally used by the adult escort app SkipThegames (seen here) to fight identity theft and fraud as adult sites are often targets for malicious actors online.
  • Customer Education: The customer is the key, the basis for all protection. Many crimes are committed by the sheer inexperience and lack of knowledge of the customers themselves. Companies need to address the problem by educating the customer, often by holding webinars, emailed advice, public chat sessions over TV, mobile and so on. The main areas of advice should be on how to choose a password, and how to spot an email or web scam.
  • Masking User numbers: The phone numbers used by customers need to be kept secret as far as possible, and masked by the large financial institutions and companies transacting the customer accounts, and tasked with protecting the data. Masking provides further layers of Authentication, privacy and protection.
  • Sending Real Time Alerts: The posting of Alerts in Real Time can prevent the hacking and dilution of many accounts by indicating unusual account activity in time for redressal. The detection and prevention of fraud can sometimes only be addressed by a lightning fast detection and alert system. The system of permission and denial of transfer of large amounts of finance to other safe havens by the criminals, by the use of Real Time Alert systems have foiled many a financial crime.
  • Secure Data Storage: The Storage of Data in a central place has always created more problems than it has solved. While storing all the data in a single location can be an advantage in many ways, such as protection by limiting access, and unifying Customer UX (User Experience), it can also be a source of weakness, by creating a sitting target for cyber criminals. But one thing is becoming abundantly clear. Customer UX is the key to higher Brand values in 2020, leading to far greater popular acceptance. Rather than price of the product and sometimes even the quality, it is the Customer UX that is being treasured the most by the sellers. It is here that Cloud Storage provides some of the best Security techniques available to be applied.

The Security Problem

A 2018 survey has clearly indicated that at least 73% of adults in the US have expressed their extreme concerns over the last few years about deteriorating data security. Another survey has shown that only 21% of people trust that companies handle their data with care.Over 66% of consumers have taken strong steps over securing the privacy of their own data. Data Protection is a vital factor for modern life in 2020.