Technology has, without any doubt, helped businesses and individuals achieve incredible feats. The alarm clock that wakes you up every morning, the car you drive to work, and the smartphone or laptop you’re using to read this article, are all thanks to technology. But unfortunately, some use it for harmful purposes.
For instance, there are several data breaches and thefts in organizations due to technological advancement. A data breach occurs when there is a security violation or protected, sensitive, and confidential information gets copied, transmitted, stolen, or used by individuals that do not have the authority to do so.
A data breach could affect customers’ personal data, employee information, transactions, company’s trade secrets, etc. Data breaches have numerous consequences, including financial loss, damage to your reputation, loss of sensitive data, loss of your customer’s trust, organization downtime, and lawsuits.
This article looks at how technological advancement has caused an increase in data breaches. Also, you will learn about how you can prevent or reduce data breaches in your business.
5 Ways technological advancement increased the risk of data breaches
These are the various ways technology and technological advancements increase the possibility of data breaches. They include:
Increased viruses and malware
Just as you’re looking for new ways to protect data, cybercriminals are also developing trickier viruses and malware that can break down whatever wall of protection you erect. Malware or viruses are enormous risks to any data your business collects.
Malware is any malicious software designed by cybercriminals to disrupt or damage your computer system and data. Once they get to your information, they could replicate and give unauthorized access to the virus creator.
As a result, all your customer’s contact info, business secrets, contracts, and other sensitive data, get into the wrong hands. Technological advancement provided the tools for data thieves to improve on the types of viruses they develop.
When your business’s data is tampered with because of malware and viruses, your company violates data privacy laws. Two common examples of such laws are the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Osano’s data privacy law guide provides you with a rundown of all regulations, including the GDPR and CCPA, and all they require of businesses. Violation of these data privacy laws leads to severe penalties, so ensure your data is well-protected from all forms of malware.
You might be wondering the difference between phishing and spear phishing. While phishing involves the cybercriminal sending emails in mass, spear-phishing emails target one organization or person. These two are impersonation attacks in which the sender attempts to steal sensitive data or install malware.
With the right technological tools, the mastermind behind a spear-phishing attack can do so easily. Nowadays, smartphones and laptops are so advanced that we can do almost anything with a click. Also, the unlimited access to the internet and its provisions make spear-phishing activities even worse.
In spear phishing, data thieves or attackers disguise themselves as trustworthy individuals to get sensitive data from organizations and individuals. This is usually through emails (or other online messaging platforms), a product of technological advancement. The attacker will create a false persona and identity to deceive unsuspecting targets, especially those who are not tech-savvy.
Increased hacking activities
Hacking has existed for quite a while. But as technology advanced, hackers discovered more methods to obtain unauthorized access to information from organizations with insufficient data or cyber security. In addition, there is software that makes it easier for cybercriminals to steal personal and sensitive information from websites.
Hacking involves utilizing various methods and tools to breach the defenses and exploit the weaknesses in an individual or organization’s computer system or network. When a hacker gets into a company’s computer system, their customer and employee data are in danger. Hackers could blackmail you with this information or sell the data to your competitors.
On the internet, you can get information about anything. For example, you can search for ways to protect yourself from hackers. But hackers could search for hacking tricks and tips on the same internet. So, technology helps these cybercriminals perfect their activities, which endangers business data.
Increased passwords theft
After gathering data for business purposes, you use every possible means to protect the information, and one of such is passwords. But because you do not want to forget the password, you might choose one considered ‘weak.’
Weak passwords might be easy for you to remember. However, they also make it easier for data thieves to access your sensitive information.
Technology helps hackers figure out those passwords, giving them unlimited access to all your data. Weak passwords are short or associated with something personal. For instance, if your business’s name is Bob and Co., making your password ‘Bobandco2002’ (2002 might be the year the company was founded) makes it easy for hackers to figure it out.
Also, with technology like password generators, hackers can throw together information about your business to determine the password. So by using one, you increase the chance of being hacked on any device with internet access.
Heightened exploitation of application vulnerabilities
Application vulnerabilities are those flaws and weaknesses that an application or software has that cause exploitation or data breaches. For instance, if you use particular software to store your company’s information and it has vulnerabilities, the chances of cybercriminals accessing your data get higher.
Also, you could be a software company with vulnerabilities in your applications, leading to data leakage. Those who use your app are also at risk of having their personal information stolen. Examples of common application vulnerabilities include Structured Query Language (SQL)/Database Queries, broken authentication, Cross-Site Scripting (CSS), etc.
With the significant global reach of the internet, web applications are susceptible to attacks from different locations. Once hackers or other data thieves can use their tech tools to determine the weaknesses in your app, they will get whatever information they need.
5 Tips on how to prevent data breaches
A data breach can be detrimental to a business. Preventing these violations helps protect your business from losing money, time, and customers. Here are some tips on avoiding data breaches:
Encrypt all data
Data encryption involves protecting information by converting it into a different form, then securing it with a unique password. This unique password is known as the decryption key. Encrypted data is referred to as “ciphertext.”
One benefit of encrypting data is enjoying digital data confidentiality. This way, you protect your information through some key security initiatives. These could include integrity, non-repudiation, authentication, etc.
Encryption also helps prevent a security breach from becoming a data violation. This also includes strengthening your cybersecurity protection.
A third party could be a vendor your brand works with. Data breaches could happen when your company’s critical data is stolen by or through third parties. These infringements can be devastating for your business.
Third-party vendors could access sensitive information. Outsiders could also access data through third parties systems. Also, third parties are not under your control, so they might not have the same level of cybersecurity protection your business has.
Therefore, assess all the third parties affiliated with your business. This is known as “Third-party Risk Management.”
Use strong passwords
Using passwords is another way to prevent data breaches. A password is a group of characters used to access systems or services. It keeps outsiders from accessing vital information while also protecting the data contained in the system.
It is not enough to password-protect your company’s systems. The one you use must be solid and challenging to figure out. Likewise, your chosen password needs to be puzzling, so refrain from using basic or weak passwords for your systems.
Conduct employee training on security
Employees are another way through which you could experience data breaches. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur at any time, and these errors can be disastrous for your business. Therefore, it is essential to train your workers to prevent and manage such mistakes.
Employee security awareness training educates them on protecting themselves on the internet. Conduct this training as frequently as possible to promote effectiveness. Some of the main points discussed in this training include using public Wi-Fi, social media, internet, emails, passwords, etc.
Limit access to valuable data
Not all levels of data should be available to employees. Instead, regulate the amount of data staff members, and other parties have access to. This is especially vital when it comes to sensitive company information.
Only a handful of employees should have access to valuable data. These should be staff members who need sensitive data to perform their duties. Limiting access to essential data reduces the likelihood of a data breach.
Technology has helped advance several businesses by providing solutions to make operations smoother and more effective. However, technological innovations mean more risk of data breaches.
These breaches attract severe consequences to businesses and their customers. This article looked at how technology increased the chances of data breaches and the various tips to prevent violations.