Data Breach

Personal incident response

What is a data breach and how to handle one?

A data breach can be elaborated as an action that gives you access to some confidential and important information. It can involve the theft of your social security code, bank account information, and passwords. A data breach is not always intentional; it can be accidental at times. A cybercriminal aims at hacking your personal and important data related to work and finance and make profits from it. There have been many victims of a data breach taking from hospitals, companies, colleges, and even government offices.

How does data breach happen?

There are a few patterns that these cybercriminals follow to breach your data. Major cases have been reported, that took place, following these patterns. Here is how most cases of breach takes place:

  1. Insider’s misuse: A company’s employee has access to most delicate information, which at times, they misuse for their benefit by selling it to a foe company.
  2. Physical theft and loss: At times you might lose a device, carrying information at someplace. This can get in the hands of criminals, leading them to gain profits from misusing the information available in those devices. 
  3. Denial of service: Such attacks are targeted on your network and data. This denial services flood and overload your systems disrupting services.
  4. Crimeware: This includes malware, malicious software or social engineering attacks. These cybercriminals might use the ransomware, SQL injection, and phishing attempts to get a hold on your network, data and even passwords.
  5. Web application attacks: While signing a new application, you might provide your personnel details. Attacker utilizes your identity to perform malicious activities.
  6. Payment card skimmers: Attackers can also use skimming devices on card readers, that can steal your personnel and financial information.
  7. Miscellaneous errors: Security accidents might occur due to many errors that compromise data and release sensitive information.
  8. Scam emails: Cyber thieves also use scamming emails in the name of the company’s CEO or other officials you might be working with, creating it authentically. They might ask you to transfer money from official accounts. Such connections lead to disastrous outcomes.

How to handle and recover data which was exposed in a data breach?

If you get victimized by a data breach, the following are the steps you should act upon immediately:

  • Foremost, find out which kind of data has been stolen. The companies in most cases are required to inform their customers about the breach that happened to their data. If any notification comes to you, try to avail of all the help that company can offer you.
  • Connect with your bank at the earliest. Discuss what all it might affect, ask for a change in your credit card PIN and account numbers, and set up fraud alerts.
  • Immediately get your passwords changed and strengthen them for all your accounts. Even those accounts not breached yet can get affected later. Secure them all.
  • Check for your credit reports by visiting the online portals. Look for the free credit available and spot errors and frauds. Also, freeze your account and credit file for some time.
  • Keep monitoring your account for any suspicious activity. It will keep you informed about any transaction or withdrawal being made through your account.

It is very important to take all the necessary steps in ensuring the protection of your personnel information and data.  Be aware of how your information can be floated among the wrong people if a data breach happens to you, the consequence it might lead to, and what actions you must take in such a situation.

Resident blogger for Zenosec, interested in all things cybersecurity.

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