What is a Data Breach?

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To say we live in technologically advanced times is an understatement. The ease and speed with which we access information and each other is unprecedented and only continues to advance. We have the world at our fingertips, but we must remember and recognize that there can be disadvantages to this as well. To borrow from the Peter Parker principle: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Communication has evolved as a response to the way we live. We are constantly connected; our devices are a part of us. Whether we are using a mobile phone or a desktop computer, we can transfer and exchange information quicker than ever before. This convenience also creates a dangerous vulnerability: the data breach. In this blog, we’ll explore the definition of data breach, the different types to be aware of, and steps to take to recover from a data breach.

Data Breach Defined

A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive information is accessed by an unauthorized party. Data breaches can be intentional or accidental, but in either circumstance can involve the loss or theft of bank account or credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, personal health information, or passwords.

Data breaches have grown in recent years and have infiltrated several industries, including: healthcare and medical, education, financial, industrial, and government. Any type of company handling or processing any valuable data can be a target for cybercriminals. If a hacker will benefit from having the information, they will seek ways to infiltrate the system.

Types of Data Breaches

There are a variety of data breaches, but the end result is the same – cybercriminals end up with your private data. Here are some common types of data breaches to look out for.

  • Ransomware: this occurs when a hacker holds your personal files and documents hostage until you pay a ransom.
  • Phishing: when a cybercriminal creates a website that mirrors a legitimate company’s website and lures a user to click on a link, that is known as a phishing attack. These attacks are designed to collect passwords and other confidential information.
  • Virus or malware: the goal of a virus or malware is to wreak havoc on a user’s system. Viruses are sent to users with the intention of wiping out the system’s data.
  • Weak or stolen passwords: if a user’s password is too easy to guess, a hacker can easily access that user’s system and all the confidential information contained within it. Keeping passwords private and making them difficult to guess will protect your system from being infiltrated in this way.

How Can You Recover from a Data Breach?

Time is of the essence when you are the victim of a data breach. Once you learn your data has been breached, take the following steps (as necessary):

  • Determine what data was stolen.
  • Contact financial institutions to change account numbers or dispute or cancel charges.
  • Change and strengthen passwords on all your accounts.
  • Request and access free credit reports.
  • Monitor your accounts and information on a continuous basis to ensure there is no suspicious activity.

Partner with an MSP for Data Security

Modern technology allows us to be more productive and in touch than ever before. As technology advances, so too does the need to protect our sensitive data. MSPs stay current on the latest cybersecurity trends and work as the first line of defense for many businesses. Partnering with an MSP can be an essential step in mitigating, or even preventing, data breaches.

AJTC specializes in data security solutions tailored to any business’s needs. From email and internet to internal systems and mobile devices, AJTC offers comprehensive data security services to ensure your business is protected. Contact us here or call 708.942.8200 for more information.

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