Breach of Data | the companies nightmare

Cyber attack + blog Z. Oualid today

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With the rapid advancement in technology, businesses of all sizes have become increasingly reliant on workforce mobility, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital media.

Data breach have gained widespread popularity as sensitive business data is stored on local machines, cloud servers, and enterprise databases. So what is a data breach?

A data breach is a security incident that exposes protected or confidential information. It may involve the loss or theft of your credit card numbers or bank account information, Social Security number, password or emails, and personal health information.

Businesses, governments, and individuals alike are experiencing huge complications when their sensitive information gets exposed. Whether you are online or offline, cybercriminals and hackers can get to you through the Internet, online services and Bluetooth, etc. A small vulnerability can cause a massive breach of data because people are unaware of how modern security threats work.

What is the impact of a data breach?

Data breaches can hurt businesses and individuals in a variety of ways. These are costly expenses that can damage reputations and take time to repair.

Corporations and businesses are attractive targets to cybercriminals due to a large amount of sensitive data. More and more information has been moving to the digital world as technology progresses. A data breach can be accidental or intentional. Cybercriminals hack the company database where you have shared your personal information, or an employee of that company may expose your data accidentally on the Internet.

Recent Data Breach Statistics

According to research, the average cost to a company of a data breach is $3.86 million. Since the COVID-19 pandemic situation has forced companies to move their businesses online, there has been a significant increase in data breaches. A recent Kaspersky report says that around 726 million reported cyber-attacks occurred since the start of the year 2020.

The rapid adoption of remote working in all businesses created large gaps in cybersecurity, due to which there is an increase in cyber-attacks and security threats. According to a cyber-security company Malwarebyte’s report, remote working caused nearly 20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2020. The report also showed that remote workers use their personal devices instead of ones issued by their companies.

A network security vulnerability is a flaw or weakness that can be exploited by hackers to perform unauthorized actions. Malicious software or malware is developed with the intent of harming companies and individuals by doing data breaches. Malware attacks have become more sophisticated with the rising trend of machine learning and targeted phishing emails. 92% of the malware is delivered by email. Web-based and malware attacks are the two most costly types of attacks. Companies spent an average of U.S $2.4 million in defense.

The average cost of data breaches to organizations worldwide is $3.86 million. It takes companies an average of 207 days to identify data breaches. Data breaches have become more persuasive in the interconnected world, so it is important to understand modern-day cyber-attacks. Here are some latest data breaches or cyber-attacks that occurred in 2020.

  • In dark web crime forums, nearly 500,000 stolen Zoom passwords are available for sale in 2020.
  • MGM Resorts suffered a massive data breach that leaked 142 million personal details of guests.
  • The hotel Marriot faced a security breach in 2020, resulting in the leak of more than 5.2 million guests who used the company’s loyalty application.
  • Twitter breach well-coordinated scam made cybercriminals steal $121,000 in Bitcoin through 300 transactions.
  • Magellan Health was stuck by a data breach and a ransomware attack stating that 365,000 patients were affected due to a sophisticated cyber-attack.

What is Pen testing or Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the manual process of assessing a network or an application for security vulnerabilities. It is a method to explore your IT environment and identify how cybercriminals or hackers can exploit the exposed vulnerabilities. Pen testing is also known as ethical hacking. It involves your penetration testers mimicking the attacker’s act with permission.

How pen testing can help prevent data breaches?

One of the most common threats that companies face is related to publicly hosted web applications. These include data breaches and malicious attacks to steal information or compromise systems. The loss of data can be mitigated or prevented with effective penetration testing. Only a few companies are aware of pen testing and its benefits, while others leave themselves open to data breaches.

The pen testing processes help you discover blind spots that attackers use to breach your cybersecurity network. It helps improve your security posture and allows you to prioritize the vulnerabilities based on possible risks associated with them. Penetration testing involves examining all possible attack surfaces before a real data breach.

The best way to protect your organization from cybercriminals is to detect the weaknesses before them. Identify the vulnerabilities first and then find ways to exploit them just as hackers do. You can do it by scanning your systems, network, operation systems, and applications.

How GDPR and law impact the data breaches?

Under the GDPR, organizations that process EU personal data are responsible for disclosing data breaches to data protection authorities with a 72-hour notification deadline. It not only applies to European companies but also to an organization that does business in Europe or hold European personal data. It means that companies around the globe processing EU data need to prepare for compliance with GDPR.

With GDPR, businesses around the world have begun to improve their cybersecurity. Because if your company is not fully compliant with the law impact and new regulations on data security, then you are expected to lose a lot of money from GDPR fines. These are based on the severity of non-compliance and the negligence from a company that causes a data breach.

If the companies do not have the progress in place to notify the consumers within the deadline, they have to pay a fine of 10 million euros or 2 percent of annual global turnover. For the severe faults like violating the requirement of Privacy by Design or not obtaining the customer consent for data processing, the fine is raised to 20 million euros or 4 percent of annual global turnover.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to protect your company from most data breaches by assessing your business’s cybersecurity risk, improving overall security behavior, and making company-wide changes. Make sure you have given your best and done everything you can do to avoid becoming a victim of an attack. Implement the best cybersecurity practices within your organization and do penetration testing to prevent data breaches. Do not become a statistic! It’s time to change the culture towards improved cybersecurity.

Written by: Z. Oualid

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About the author

Z. Oualid

I am a Cyber Security Expert, I have worked with many companies around the globe to secure their applications and their networks. I am certified OSCP and OSCE which are the most recognized and hard technical certifications in the industry of cybersecurity. I am also a Certifed Ethical hacker (CEH). I hope you enjoy my articles :).

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