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Learn why data breaches happen and how you can prevent them

People were always risking their personal data being stolen because hackers can benefit from them Learn why data breaches happen and how you can prevent them

Since the beginning of the internet era, people were always risking their personal data being stolen because hackers can benefit from them. For example, if they’re stealing your credit card information, they can purchase whatever they like in your name or even take loans. This can have tremendous repercussions on regular people, but businesses can be affected too. 

People still do not correctly acknowledge the importance of security safety, but sometimes, the signs of a data breach can be hard to spot, which is why most people are unaware that they’ve been hacked. In most cases, people only notice that their internet connection is unusually slow or they can’t access most of their accounts, even if they change passwords. At worst, they find that their credit card was used for unallowed purchases. Therefore, in this article, we’ll learn about why data breaches happen and how you can prevent them. 

How do data breaches occur?

As said before, hackers may have many reasons why they steal data. But they don’t use the same practices, which is why there are many types of cyber-attacks, so we’ll list the most common:

  • Phishing is among the easiest traps people fall into. When they happen, you’ll get an e-mail or a message on your phone from a trusted company that requires you to offer your login information to proceed with what seems to be a regular check-up. However, it’s actually a hacker in disguise that pressures you to give your sensitive information.
  • Ransomware can be spread into devices through phishing. This type of attack is designed to deny your access to a device until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is a type of malware, so when you’re receiving an email that urges you to click on a link, it is usually infected with a virus that will be downloaded into your computer. 

  • Third-party data breaches can happen if one of the vendors related to your paid services has experienced a cyberattack that steals its customer’s information. In this case, there’s nothing much to do, but it would be best to check on any company before offering your data to ensure there’s a low risk of it getting stolen.

What happens if a company is hacked?

According to the Global Security Index, some countries are less susceptible to being hacked than others. For example, the United Kingdom is known for preventing thousands of attacks and reducing the average time a phishing site is online, which also means UK businesses are leaders in cybersecurity. Other countries with solid cyber resilience are France, Lithuania and Estonia. At the bottom of the list, the countries where most data breaches occur are the US, South Korea, Canada and Australia. 

Most of the time, data breaches happen due to negligence. When it comes to regular people, it’s pretty challenging to provide your own security. Still, most companies don’t think cybersecurity is that important, which is why hackers will always find flaws in their systems. One of the most disastrous data breaches in history happened in 2016, when Yahoo, one of the biggest companies worldwide, announced that hackers stole information from 500 million users, causing the company to be sued with an immense fee. 

And that’s not the only company hit by such an event. In 2018, British Airways declared that the credit card details of around 380,00 customers were compromised, contributing to the company’s downfall. Although a data breach can bring down essential businesses, customer data is more important, which is why people can claim data breach compensation in the UK to cover their losses. These can be proved easily if the customer has information about their purchases and can demonstrate financial losses.

Are there ways to prevent data breaches? 

Although no one is 100% secure on the internet, there are some ways to minimise your exposure to such risks. Keep in mind that by offering your data here and there, you’re only spreading the chances of someone stealing them, or, even worse, you can become a collateral victim after a company has been breached. So, if you want to be safe, here’s what you need to consider:

  • Use complex passwords. Know that hackers use intelligent software and programs that allow them to guess your password, so if you always choose simple ones, your system might be in danger. Therefore, try to make your passwords as complicated as possible, using numbers, letters and symbols. And don’t worry about forgetting them because you can use a password manager to keep them all stored safely. 

  • Enable multi-factor authentication where the applications allow you. This method ensures that no one else can enter your system because they would need that specific code from your phone. So, even if a hacker manages to steal your password, they still can’t use it to log in to your accounts. 

  • Consider using security software. Your computer’s malware program might not be sufficient for facing a hacker’s system, so having another software (free or purchased) can help you strengthen your computer’s security. 

  • Be up-to-date with the latest breaching procedures. Although you may know how most hackers enter a system, there are always new ways to fool people into giving their personal or credit card information. Be aware of the news and never send sensitive data without a backed-up reason. 

  • Use up-to-date devices and programs. Outdated systems are not strong enough to face new cyber threats and can’t even update anymore, making them the perfect target for hackers. Although the latest devices can be pricier, your security safety is more important. 

Final thoughts 

Data breaches happen all the time, but if we are aware of the possible dangers on the internet, we may be able to prevent them. It’s important to know the latest practices in data stealing and strengthen your security by having strong passwords and security software that can protect your information. Lastly, try not to offer your information on every website you enter because not all of them are safe and reliable. 

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