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Prepare Your Organization For Data Breaches

What is Breach?

Data Breach is when any information is stolen from the system without the administrator’s knowledge. Anyone can face a data breach, whether an organization or an individual. Targeted data can be confidential, personal, sensitive, or proprietary such as business plans, credit card details, personal information, or matters of national security and trades.

A data breach can result in financial loss as well as reputational damage. A data leak could be deliberate or unintentional. An attacker enters into the company’s infrastructure and steals data, or inadvertently, a firm employee discloses Personal Information over the Internet. All fall into the category of Data Breach as it can help the attackers for their profit.

Recent Data Breaches

Last year, Various data breaches were reported. Some were minor, whereas some cost huge to the victims. Some examples of these includes

  • LinkedIn recently faced a massive data breach scenario. Personal information of 700 million LinkedIn users, or almost 93 percent of the company’s members, was available for purchase on the internet. The data was claimed to be recent; though it didn’t include the login credentials, it contains basic personal information like Name, Phone number, Addresses, Gender, Email, Geographical Locations, etc.
  • Facebook also faced the same situation when a security researcher uncovered a Facebook database that contained 533 million accounts that had been leaked. Personal information of the users was compromised, consisting of 32+ Million records of users from the US, 10+ Million users from the UK, and 7 Million users from India. Facebook faced a lot of troubles regarding this database leak.
  • Another incident happened with Raychat, an Iranian commercial and social messaging app. A cyberattack employing a bot revealed millions of user records to the internet, eventually erased.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a cyber-fraud that includes someone stealing your identity, specifically online, to commit theft. Attackers usually get your information by data breaches or by public information access. This kind of fraud can damage you socially as well as financially.

Reasons behind a Breach

  1. Unpatched and outdated security vulnerabilities

    Using an old security patch invites the attackers to enter and steal. Hackers unknowingly use the information gathered by security researchers for their use. However, any unfixed vulnerabilities are being exploited by hackers for their personal use. To identify them for future reference, these exploits are categorized into hundreds of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs).

  2. Human Error

    Unfortunately, many breaches are not due to automation failure or unknown error but are expected to be human error. According to a study, 50% of breaches happen due to some human error. The reason maybe

    • Due to the use of weak passwords
    • Sharing of accounts/passwords
    • Being a victim of phishing and the list goes on and on.
  3. Malware and phishing

    Malware and phishing don’t only affect your personal computer, but they can also be a threat to your company’s system. According to a report, every 5 seconds, a malware event occurs worldwide. By making minor modifications, hackers can still enter your system without being noticed by antivirus.

  4. Theft of a Data-Transporting Device

    If devices with sensitive information and your organizations’ trade secrets are being stolen, it can lead to breaches. The seriousness of the violation depends upon the type of data stored in the device that has been stolen.

Effects of Data Breaches

As already stated, the effects of data breaches can be hazardous. Some of the results are listed below.

  1. Financial and Reputational Damage

    Data breaches can harm a lot regarding the trust and reputation of a company. Recovering from a Breach also costs a lot to the organizations. Customers will think twice about giving their data to a company that has been a victim of a Data Breach.

  2. Downtime in Company

    The recovery process includes many things like investigation, re-development, etc. During this time, the company had to keep its operations shut down, leading to Operational Downtime. This duration is entirely dependent upon the time taken during the whole investigation.

  3. Loss of Sensitive Data

    In a data breach, we lose our personal and professional data, which can have disastrous effects. Any information directly or indirectly related to an individual is essential, and no one likes to compromise with those.

  4. Legal Actions

    Organizations are legally required to demonstrate that they have taken all necessary precautions to secure personal data under data protection legislation. Any data breach can drag organizations into legal consequences too.

Best Practices to Avoid Data Breaches

For Enterprises

  • Proper Implementation of Security Measures.
  • Preparing an effective disaster recovery plan before.
  • Use latest and updated security patches.
  • Provide regular security training for employees to make sure that they know about recently introduced policies.
  • Keep regular Security audits. A security audit will examine your security policies more than vulnerability assessments or penetration testing.

For Individuals

  • Always enable two-factor Authentication.
  • It is advised to change your password regularly, but it’s especially crucial to change your passwords to something substantial, safe, and unique after a data breach.
  • Keep a record of all of your financial receipts.
  • If you receive any mail from suspicious-looking emails, don’t open it without proper investigation. Before opening any attachment, be sure you know who the sender is and what the email contains.


Data Breach is a type of attack in which sensitive and vital information gets compromised without the administrator’s knowledge, and the attacker uses it for their benefit. Several MNC companies recently faced these kinds of Data Breaches. Several reasons are behind a data breach consisting of Human Error, Outdated Security Patches, etc. These types of attacks have very disastrous effects on individuals and organizations. However, by following certain practices, we can prevent these Breaches from happening.

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About the Author

Yathaarth Swaroop is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

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