A data breach of more than 500 million Facebook users from over 160 countries has yet again stirred the piping hot debate of web security. The leaked information includes users' Facebook IDs, full names, phone numbers, birth dates, locations and e-mail addresses. This isn't, however, the first time that the social media giant has failed to protect the privacy of its users. In fact, not only Facebook but other social networking and even gaming platforms too have had similar episodes in the past.
Described technically as “data breach” this new age phenomenon refers to security incidents when a certain set of protected information is accessed by unauthorized parties. This may involve personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), social security numbers, trade secrets or intellectual property. The data is often exploited for identity thefts or even financial frauds and is sold on the dark web. Individuals, as well as, businesses have been badly affected by data breach alike in the past and continue to stand at the risk of major losses with frequent recurrence of such episodes.
As per the cyber experts, data breach can be attributed to weak passwords, visiting compromised web pages with malware viruses, targeted malware attacks, e-mail phishing, or using out-of-date software which creates a gap that acts as an entry point for hackers. Sometimes, organisations or individuals may expose sensitive data inadvertently on the internet. Whatever be the primal cause, leakage of data on the web can prove tricky.
While total prevention from data breach and internet hacking is not possible, certain preventive measures can reduce the probability many a fold. Here are some of the tips and tricks which can help you to avoid being a victim of data breach online.
Upgrade Software Frequently
Operating systems come with in-built functions for cybersecurity. However, with new and sophisticated cyber threats popping in every day, the risks of cyber theft increases. Thus, it is important to regularly update the operating system with new security features, to fill the potential entry points for hackers. Similarly, it is advised to install patches whenever available.
Regular Risk Assessments
Carry out frequent vulnerability assessments to review any changes or new risks in data protection. Assessment needs to be carried out at all levels ranging from data storage to the access points for employees. It is best to hire an expert for the same to carefully analyse your data, its protection system, and usage analysis.
Create Difficult-To-Decipher Passwords
Password thefts are one of the leading causes of data breach worldwide. Cyber experts suggest that the passwords to your software, as well as, devices should be difficult to crack. The stronger the password, the stronger is the protection against malicious software and hackers. Some of the most commonly used and compromised passwords include 123456, 123456789, 123123 and password.
Encrypt Your Data
Data encryption refers to the conversion of your data from a readable format into an encoded format that can only be read or processed after decryption. This practice ensures that even if your data is lost or stolen, it cannot be assessed by hackers. Also, make sure that you back up all your crucial data to a remote service using the internet.
Limit Access To Valuable Data
Greater the number of entry points to the data, greater is the risk of its breach. By limiting access to crucial data, the pool of people who may accidentally click on malicious links is significantly reduced. More and more companies today are opting for this restricted access policy for cybersecurity.
Opt For Identity Theft Protection Services
Identity theft protection services are specially designed to keep an eye on the safety of your personal information online. They constantly scan your profiles for any suspicious activity and also ensure speedy recovery in case of data breach. It is thus advised to invest in a good identity theft protection service to effectively safeguard your personal information over the web.
Educate The Team About Data Security
When a set of data is accessible to and is collectively worked upon by a team, the potential risk of data breach increases with the size of the group. Thus, it is very important to train every employee or team member with techniques of data protection. Regular workshops on data breach and cyber securities should be conducted to keep them updated about the potential risks, preventive measures and tackling techniques.
Develop A Cyber Breach Response Plan
A sound cyber breach response plan not only prepares the organisations to face any plausible situation of cyber threat efficiently but also helps them understand the potential damage that this breach might bring. It helps in keeping the plan of action ready in case any data mishap occurs.