What Happens When Data is Breached 20 Aug 2021
Preventing data breaches from happening should be the top priority of any business that cares about its own future. Therefore, it is highly important to fortify the defence lines – the business’s security system – to ensure that hackers cannot infiltrate and access sensitive information. This is likely to be made up of robust breach detection, investigation and internal reporting procedures. As such, the business will be able to notify the relevant supervisory authorities regarding the affected individuals. A personal record must also be kept.
So why is it essential to prevent data breaches anyway?
Quite simply, the theft of data could negatively impact both a company and its clients. For instance, in the 2017 data breach of Equifax, more than 145 million people worldwide were affected. The company subsequently paid out more than $700 million in compensation to US customers. The breach also affected an estimated 15 million UK customers, who have similarly launched their own legal action in the High Court seeking £100 million in compensation.
As can be seen, the company’s clients were impacted as the breach exposed their names and dates of birth, social security numbers, payment card numbers and expiration dates. Of course, the breach affected the company financially as they had to pay out compensation in the hundreds of millions. This has no doubt led to a loss of customers and share value.
Here are the other reasons why business owners should prioritise data breach prevention:
- Losing this data, as a smaller business, could lead to the discontinuation of operations;
- Hackers gaining control means more system downtime and less profit made;
- Employee and customer information will be kept safe from being stolen;
- The company’s intellectual property will be protected;
- Customer trust will be retained and possibly strengthened, not lost.
Safeguarding data will help towards protecting the company’s reputation and image. Moreover, by outsmarting the hackers before they are even able to gain access, the whole fiasco of dealing with a data breach and its consequences can be completely and utterly avoided.
Without a security system in place, businesses are simply leaving the back door open for hackers to walk through. Preventing this from happening is the smartest way of handling things.
What actually happens when data is breached?
There are plenty of reasons why a hacker will steal a company’s data. Number one, they can sell the data to other criminals. Number two, stolen personal information is fuel for identity theft. Number three, login details are needed for account takeover. Number four, stolen data is used to target phishing attacks and extortion. And, number five, stolen personal information can be used to harm companies. There are many ‘benefits’ the hacker will experience because of this.
These data breaches occur when hackers successfully infiltrate a data source, done either physically or remotely. The former is done via accessing a computer or network, stealing the system’s local files, while the latter can be done from anywhere, bypassing the security network completely. This is usually the method chosen by hackers as it is harder to get caught doing it.
But what are the steps taken to carry this out?
- Prior to the breach taking place, a hacker will do their research on the business. This allows them to identify any weaknesses in the security system, if any at all.
- Then they will make initial contact using a network or social attack. Network occurs when the hacker uses infrastructure, system, and application weaknesses to infiltrate. Social involves tricking employees into giving access to the company’s network.
- Once they are in, the hacker can attack the network and tunnel their way to confidential company data. When they extract this data, the attack is then considered ‘successful’.
Following this, the hacker can do whatever they want with the data. Usually, they look to benefit financially from the incident. Sometimes though, it could be for political reasons – such as in the case of Anonymous – or to make a point/statement – as in the Ashley Madison hacking scandal.
For small businesses, the main goal for hackers is to gain money.
How can WhiteCanyon help prevent all of this?
Avoiding all of this can be easy through taking the right steps in setting up a proper working security system. Helping towards that is WhiteCanyon’s WipeDrive software, designed to ensure data is completely erased and unrecoverable. Reinstalling an operating system, formatting the hard drive or deleting specific files and folders does not fully guarantee the data is gone. In fact, it is still completely accessible with freely available tools. WipeDrive uses military-grade wiping technology that overwrites data multiple times, meaning absolute safety for businesses.
To find out more about WhiteCanyon’s WipeDrive software, visit our website today! Alternatively, give us a call on 0345 340 3105 to speak directly to our team, or fill out an enquiry form here. We look forward to hearing from you and welcome any potential questions you may have.