The rise of the data breach has been observed with apprehension by big businesses and individual consumers alike. The idea that we all need to avoid the faceless, nefarious forces that can snatch valuable information from the other side of the planet is equally daunting.
So who are these cybercriminals and what steps can you take to defend against and ultimately defeat them?
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Know Your Enemy
Data breaches can be perpetrated by a surprisingly diverse number of malicious third parties, ranging from lone wolf hackers who still live with their parents to gangs of organised criminals with deep ties to other underworld activities.
Because of this, it is relatively difficult to work out who is targeting you, at least in the short term. The good news is that simply being aware of the risks that you will encounter whenever you are using a connected device is enough to put you on a more secure footing.
There is a multitude of options for anyone who wants to stop cybercriminals in their tracks, rather than allowing themselves to remain vulnerable to underhanded hacking tactics.
For businesses, one of the best ways to boost security is to leverage penetration testing services, like those offered by Fidus Information Security. This is based on the assumption that you have some form of protection against cyber threats, but have yet to learn whether or not it will perform adequately if an attempt to carry out a data breach is made.
Pen testing can accommodate a variety of different incursion experiments, helping you to highlight vulnerabilities in your firm’s digital and physical presence.
For individuals, penetration testing is likely to be overkill, but the upcoming tips on how to protect private information will still apply, regardless of whether or not you are responsible for cybersecurity in a commercial organisation.
Banish Bad Habits
In many cases, the people who conspire to carry out data breaches are largely reliant on human error or complacency giving them the window of opportunity they need to succeed in their illicit deeds. As such, it makes sense to learn about common bad habits and work to wipe them out, so hackers do not have a foothold to cling to.
From weak passwords to improper use of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, there are plenty of places in which room for improvement can be found. Businesses can use employee training sessions to counteract them, while individuals should take the initiative and teach themselves about these issues so that they do not leave themselves exposed unnecessarily.
In both cases, being able to identify phishing campaigns is an important skill. Misleading emails and malware-bearing sites are all too common, and it only takes one erroneous click to leave a device or an entire system infected.
Keep Up to Date
You do not need to be a cybersecurity whiz kid to bat away attempted data breaches; half the battle is simply remembering to update software as promptly as possible after a patch is released.
Developers discover vulnerabilities surprisingly regularly, which is why updates are so frequent themselves. An unpatched piece of software or hardware is a ripe target for exploitation by digital crooks, so do not let such a scenario persist.
This same ethos should apply when it comes to news about cybercrime itself; whenever a breach occurs, media coverage will usually be quite exhaustive. By paying attention and learning from the mistakes made by other organisations and individuals, it will be harder to fall into the same traps and suffer loss or theft of vital data.