The Anatomy of a Data Breach: What are They and What to do When You Spot One?
Arguably no phrase has dominated the tech world over the last 24 months more than the term “data breach.” The previous two years have been saturated by headlines of cybersecurity mishaps, from breaches that have impacted critical infrastructure like the Colonial Pipeline to hackers compromising healthcare records at UC San Diego Health. Yet, despite the prevalence of the breach-centric news cycle, many everyday individuals may not know what a data breach is, how they typically start, and why they occur.
According to IBM, the average time it takes to identify a breach is 287 days, with the average time to contain a breach clocking in at 80 days. And with 81% of businesses experiencing a cyberattack during COVID, individuals must be familiar with the anatomy of a data breach to keep their data and their colleague’s and customers’ data safe.
With that in mind, here is some helpful background on data breaches and why they are so problematic.
What is a data breach?
While it may seem complex, a data breach is straightforward to explain once the jargon is removed. According to Trend Micro, a data breach is “an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner.” And while data breaches can be the result of a system or human error, a vast majority of data breaches result from cyber attacks, where a cybercriminal gains unlawful access to sensitive system data. 92% of the data breaches in Q1 2022 resulted from cyberattacks.
What kind of data can be breached?
Unfortunately, cybercriminals look to get their hands on any information they can, ranging from more transparent sensitive information such as social security numbers and credit card information to more obscure data like past purchase history.
What are some of the tactics used to execute data breaches?
Cybercrime is getting more sophisticated each day. However, cyberattack tactics do not have to be cutting-edge or advanced to be very effective. Here are a few examples of popular tactics used by cybercriminals:
- USB Port Attack: A USB attack can come in many forms. DataLocker’s SafeConsole PortBlocker software protects critical systems and sensitive information from anywhere! PortBlocker ensures people only use approved USB devices to prevent malware intrusion and accidental file loss.
- Phishing: Phishing is when a cybercriminal pretends to be a legitimate party in hopes of tricking an individual into giving them access to personal information. Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book for cybercriminals, but it is just as effective as ever. For example, 80% of security incidents and 90% of data breaches stem from phishing attempts.
- Ransomware: Another tried-and-true method for cybercriminals is ransomware. Ransomware is malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s sensitive data or permanently block its access unless a ransom is paid. This malicious software secretly installs itself on devices – often by users engaging with fake links and content – and quietly gains access to the data on an individual’s device or a business network. DataLocker’s secure and military-grade encrypted USB Drives can offer ransomware protection, response, and recovery.
- Compromised Password and Data: Through password attacks, cybercriminals seek access to sensitive data and networks by “cracking” user passwords and using these credentials to get into networks and extract data from a given network. By leveraging the SafeConsole platform with DataLocker’s Encrypted USB Flash Drives and Hard Drives, companies can centrally administer usage and passwords using a broad range of flexible policy and password management controls.
How to spot a possible breach?
The best way to stop a data breach is to stop it before it even starts, and DataLocker’s professionals have you covered. Any mission, any industry—protect your people and digital assets across your entire ecosystem! Reach out and stay a step ahead of cybercriminals with DataLocker.
DataLocker is proud to be a #CyberAwarenessMonth Champion! You can become one too. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/DataLocker2022Champion